Thursday, 13 February 2014 16:01

SA Police get the finger from Android Featured

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South Australia Police now have the ability to verify a person's identity in the field by using fingerprint scanning.

Developed by NEC Australia, the SA Police mobile fingerprint system uses a compact scanner linked by Bluetooth to an Android smartphone.

NEC's app then uses public 3G and 4G mobile networks to check the Crimtrac National Police Reference database and the National Automated Fingerprint Identification System that contains records for more than three million people.

If the fingerprint is matched, the app displays relevant information including such as any bail conditions, outstanding warrants, current photo, address details and any behavioural characteristics such as "possibly violent tendencies."

SA Police grab

This suggests the system's main use will be to get around the problem of known criminals presenting false or forged identity documents when challenged by police.

SA Police cannot currently compel a person to provide fingerprints until they are under arrest. An NEC spokesperson said appropriate changes to the Summary Offences Act and the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Act 2007 are being progressed by the SA Government.

For security reasons, no data is stored on the phone. Requests are passed through a secure gateway developed by NEC that connects to the National Portable Biometric Identification API.

A successful trial of the system began late last year, and 150 SA Police units will be equipped with the technology.

"The rollout and operation at this point has been a complete success. It's helped the South Australia Police force identify a number of suspects with outstanding warrants, bail conditions and aided investigations into missing persons," said NEC Australia's director of communications solutions D'Wayne Mitchell.


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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