Tuesday, 20 March 2018 02:12

Unisys secures $44 million Home Affairs contract

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Unisys secures $44 million Home Affairs contract Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Global IT vendor Unisys has inked a multi-year contract with Australia’s Department of Home Affairs to provide new enterprise biometric identification services to facilitate traveller processing and improve the ability to identify criminals and persons of national security interest.

Under the contract — estimated to be worth up to $44 million (US$35m) — Unisys Australia will design and implement the new Enterprise Biometric Identification Services system.

The EBIS — designed to support anticipated growth in visa applications, border clearance and applications for citizenship over the next 10 years — replaces the previous biometrics matching system that was also provided and supported by Unisys for the last 12 years.

The system will be used by the department to match face images and fingerprints of people wishing to travel to Australia, including visa and citizenship applicants, against biometric watch lists to identify people of interest to security, law enforcement or immigration, while simultaneously facilitating the processing of legitimate travellers.

“In the ten years 2006-2016, the number of Australian border crossings increased from 21.7 million per year to 37.7 million – a growth of almost 74%,” said Tony Windever, vice-president and managing director of Unisys Asia Pacific.

“This places pressure on border clearance staff to verify the identity of travellers and confirm they are who they say they are more quickly and more accurately to prevent delays, avoid queues and improve the experience for travellers arriving in and departing from Australia.

“We have drawn on our wealth of knowledge built working with the Australian Government, and with other clients around the world, to design a solution that quickly flags people who require further investigation while allowing legitimate travellers to efficiently pass through border clearance.”

Unisys says EBIS will be based on the Unisys Stealth (identity) multi-factor identity management and authentication solution, which supports face, finger, iris and voice recognition, and is a robust solution designed for high-volume (more than 100,000 transactions daily) and large-scale (more than 100 million records) operations across multiple devices.

Mark Forman, global head of Public Sector business at Unisys, said: “The growth in the volume of travellers, as well as the increased risk of potential terrorist or fraudulent activity, means that effective border security is more important than ever before. We are delighted that the Australian Government has continued its trust in Unisys to help in enhancing the safety of its citizens.”

“The core of the fingerprint and facial biometric matching solution will use industry leading biometric matching algorithms from IDEMIA (formerly OT Morpho) to quickly and accurately match fingerprints and facial images. IDEMIA is a world leader in biometric solutions with internationally-recognised biometric algorithms and multi-modal implementations that support databases in excess of 1 billion identities.”

Xavier Assouad, vice-president Australasia for IDEMIA Public Security and Citizen Identity,said: “We are thrilled to provide the biometric engine that powers the EBIS solution, this is the continuation of years of IDEMIA’s engagement in the Australian market."

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Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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