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DFAT Sets Up Biometrics Panel to Meet Passport Office Needs

by Kristen Hammond •
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Intermedium’s Budget ITtool reveals the Federal Government is planning for a significant investment in biometrics in the four years to 2013-14 with the Border Security – Biometrics for Border and Visa Processing initiative receiving $69.4 million in funding in the 2010-11 Budget.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) was allocated the funding for a range of biometrics activities including strengthening the biometric capability of the Australian Passport Office (APO).

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has now progressed the initiative, releasing a Request for Tender on 17 January 2011 for the creation of a panel for the provision of Biometric Goods and Services for use by the APO.

Tender documentation indicates the APO is looking to further develop its existing facial recognition system and is also investigating the potential use of “other biometric technologies into its passport issuance and analysis systems”.

The APO is particularly seeking to achieve business improvements within the facial recognition workflow system and is seeking suppliers with the ability to provide advice on potential improvements to the current system and also to investigate solutions as to the future biometric needs of the Passport Office.

While this RFT has been released by DFAT, the panel is open for multi-agency access, suggesting that DIAC will also be procuring from the panel.

DFAT is seeking to make provision for the procurement of a range of biometrics goods and services and anticipates there will be multiple service providers for each category of supply.

Tenderers must have experience and expertise within one of the following biometric modalities:

  • Facial Biometrics;
  • Fingerprint Biometrics; or
  • Iris Biometrics.

Vendors must also offer expertise in at least one of:

  • Biometric applications: including biometric comparison, matching, monitoring and analytical and fusion products;
  • System integration and development services: including integrating biometric software into workflow systems and designing biometric applications to specifically meet the requirements of the APO; and
  • Biometric system analysis: including vulnerability assessments and statistics reporting;
  • Biometric hardware devices and sensors:including photographic equipment, finger scanners and iris scanners;
  • Biometric training services: including creation of training packages, training for biometric comparisons, training in biometric engines and technologies and training consulting services.

Tenderer’s employees must also undergo DFAT security clearances where required.

The APO, which produces secure travel documents for Australian citizens, introduced biometric technology, including facial recognition, into their passport production process in 2005. The facial recognition solution was integrated into the passport production workflow to combat identity fraud and allow the use of ePassports.

This latest tender in this area reflects the growing demand for biometric technology over the last five years. Intermedium’s contracts data indicates that the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has spent approximately $20 million since mid-2006 on their Biometric Procurement Project with Unisys Australia.

The DFAT tender closes on the 18 February 2011, with preferred tenderers expected to be announced on 4 March 2011.  

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  • Federal
  • IT Services
  • Justice
  • APO
  • Biometric
  • Border Security
  • Department for Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC)
  • DFAT
  • Facial mapping
  • Passport Office
  • RFT
  • tender
  • Unisys