03 December 2013
Australian passports may incorporate voice-recognition and eye-scanning technology as the government looks to expand biometric identification.
Australian passports have included facial recognition technology since 2005, but the government is now investigating "other biometric technologies", according to a request for tender made public on Monday.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is searching for companies to fill a new biometrics advisory panel, which will replace the current panel when its tenure expires in March.
The scope of the new panel will be "expanded to include additional biometrics such as voice", according to the tender document.
Tenderers must have expertise in facial, fingerprint, iris or voice biometrics, or in signature-reading technology, the document says.
They must also be able to provide equipment such as fingerprint scanners, iris scanners, and voice acquisition devices.
The previous panel was accessed by many Commonwealth and State government agencies in addition to those responsible for travel documents, according to the tender document.
The existing facial recognition system was introduced in a bid to reduce identity fraud and contains images dating as far back as 1999.
DFAT digitises the photo supplied with a passport application, storing one copy in a computer chip in the passport and another in a massive Australian passport database.
Biometric technology can then digitally compare the images to ensure they are of the same person, and ensure people do not apply for travel documents using another person's name.