Victoria taking lead in Oz facial biometric system
21 November 2017 15:37 GMT

The Australian state Victoria plans to take a lead in giving the federal government access to its database of drivers licence images when a national facial biometric matching capability goes live next year.

The decision comes after Federal, state and territory governments last month agreed to establish the capability to allow law enforcement agencies to share and access identity information in real time.

 VicRoads, the state's roads and traffic authority, has been asked to implement the capability on behalf of Victoria, and is working towards a deadline of mid-next year to get its house in order.

There are two central components in the system:  a national drivers licence facial recognition solution to make images available to agencies, and a central hub to facilitate the transmission of images between agencies, reports ITNews.

Whereas the solution will involve creating a federated database that provides each state and territory its own portioned data store, the hub acts as a router for sharing images from existing databases and was introduced late last year to support initial matching services. 

Both are being co-ordinated by the federal Attorney-General’s Department, and will support existing matching services offered by the department, including the face verification service and face identification service.

For VicRoads, the national driver licence facial recognition system will represent the agency's first foray into the realm of biometrics, according to director of service strategy Jill Fitzroy.

“Currently VicRoads does not have a facial recognition capability, and our entry into that and the mechanism that we are using to access facial recognition is the national driver licence facial recognition solution,” she told a Biometrics Institute conference in Canberra last week.