Australia using biometric to immigration and citizenship
Posted on June 17, 2015
Australia will continue to use biometrics to ensure immigration and citizenship security issues are as well protected as they can be, the country’s Immigration Minister has confirmed.
Speaking at the Biometrics Institute Asia-Pacific conference Peter Dutton said new innovations in this area will play an increasing and important part in everyday life to protect national security and personal identities.
‘The use of biometrics at our border allows identity assurance, protects Australia’s citizens, subverts the activities of criminals, and more importantly the activities of terrorists. It gives integrity to the Government’s migration program and facilitates legitimate trade and travel,’ he explained.
‘Biometrics will necessarily play a crucial role as information from intelligence and law enforcement holdings is analyzed in determining if someone is to be considered for revocation of their citizenship,’ Dutton said.
‘We, of course, take this responsibility very seriously which is why we need to rely on the best information available, and that will invariably mean that we will have an increasing reliance on biometric data. We are acting at various levels to meet the threats we face.
The borders and biometrics are a key element of that effort,’ he added.
He also pointed out that Australia has a proud record of innovation in biometric -based border management systems. Australia has developed systems that are being adopted by countries across the world today, to treat serious risks associated with fraud, trans-national crime, and threats to national security.
‘Australia invented electronic visas, electronic travel authorities, and the Advance Passenger Processing system, which are key components of our border protection measures today.
They allow us to screen travelers against alert lists and profiles, and to stop people from boarding a plane to Australia if they do not have our permission to come. They push our border out further than just our own shores and allow more thorough risk assessments to be carried out,’ said Dutton.
Indeed, Australia was amongst the first countries to issue electronic passports in 2005, to deploy automated border control gates in 2007 and to initiate targeted biometric data exchange programmes with other countries to tackle the complex international identity and immigration fraud industry, beginning that programme in 2009.
Dutton said that this innovation will continue as the Australian economy relies on the smooth running of a complex visa and migration pathway, and the facilitation of genuine travellers who arrive as tourists, students, and skilled migrants.
In 2013/2014, over 35 million passengers crossed Australia’s border and nearly five million visas were granted. Passengers travelling in and out of Australia is estimated to rise to 50 million by 2020.
‘The Department of Immigration and Border Protection plays a key role in protecting the integrity of our border. We are committed to the use of biometrics as a foundational component of our border management, expanding the use of biometrics to establish identity across all dimensions of our operations,’ Dutton said.
He added that recent changes will provide new powers for the Department to use biometric technology when a non-citizen applies for renewal of a visa, or when a non-citizen living in the Australian community is identified as a security concern.
‘We recognise also, that this technology presents particular challenges to privacy, so we are also ensuring that we comply with all legal and policy requirements regarding how we collect biometric information, where that information is stored at any point in time, and how it is managed in strict compliance with all provisions in the Commonwealth Protective Security,’ Dutton concluded.
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