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Australia Shuts Down Its National Biometric ID Project

Representative Image.
(Image: REUTERS/Edgar Su)

Representative Image. (Image: REUTERS/Edgar Su)

The ACIC cited project delays as the reason for shutting it down.

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Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) has announced that it will be shutting down its Biometric Identification Services (BIS) project because of certain delays in the same. The announcement by ACIC comes after the project was suspended and the NEC Australia staff was escorted out of the building earlier this month.

Michael Phelan, Chief Executive Officer of the ACIC made the announcement as follows:

"The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) has decided to discontinue the Biometric Identification Services (BIS) project. This decision was taken in light of project delays.

The contract with NEC Australia to deliver the BIS project has today been terminated. The project was suspended by mutual agreement on 4 June 2018 while commercial negotiations were ongoing. NEC Australia was contracted to deliver the capability in April 2016.

The Australian National Audit Office is conducting an audit into the project as requested by the ACIC in February 2018. The ACIC is committed to delivering projects that enhance capability for our law enforcement partners. As part of this approach we regularly review the scope, expected benefits and ongoing feasibility of our projects.

The ACIC is committed to providing national criminal information and intelligence services, including fingerprint data, to more than 70,000 police officers and other accredited users on a daily basis, to keep them and the Australian community safe."

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The NEC was contracted by ACIC for the 'Biometric Identification Services' project with a total budget $52 Million. The project was aimed at including palm and foot-prints as well as the facial recognition of individuals to aid in police investigations until 2021. The idea was to provide a single digital identity to Australian citizens by 2025.

As per reports from the Australian media, the project has crossed over $40 Million in its allocated budget. As of now, it is not clear if the project will be reinitiated in any form in the near future.

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