American IT services provider Unisys has picked up a pair of Australian government contracts. The first is to design and implement the Enterprise Biometric Identification Services (EBIS) system that will be used by the Department of Home Affairs to conduct biometric matching on people entering Australia. "The new EBIS system will be used by the department to match face images and fingerprints of people wishing to travel to Australia, including visa and citizenship applicants, against biometric watch lists to identify people of security, law enforcement, or immigration interest, while simultaneously facilitating the processing of legitimate travellers," Unisys said in a statement. The company said the system will be designed for the next decade. For its part, Assistant Minister for Home Affairs Alex Hawke said the system would "vastly improve" Australia's biometric storage and processing capabilities, and consolidate the biometrics collected through visa and detention programs with data collected at SmartGates.
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has signed another contract with Fuji Xerox Businessforce to provide a ballot scanning system for the next federal election. The AU$27 million, two-year contract includes the supply of the technology and equipment that will be extended for use by state and territory electoral commissions. One of today's biggest opportunities for IT to make an impact is by automating business processes, manufacturing, repetitive tasks, and more. An AEC spokesperson told ZDNet that correct processes were undertaken regarding procurement, selecting Fuji Xerox Businessforce from a standing deed of offer that is managed by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). On the four-vendor panel, which began in June 2014 and will last through to June 2019, is data preparation and processing firm Decipha, management consultants Sema Operations, Fuji Xerox Australia, and Fuji Xerox Businessforce.
Australian road traffic authorities can begin the roll out of intelligent transport systems (ITS) that enable vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-person, or vehicle-to-infrastructure communications, thanks to new regulations introduced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) on Thursday.
Nor should it be a surprise that the official government response was to downplay the risk. "The Department of Health takes this matter very seriously," began the message that a departmental spokesperson sent ZDNet on Monday, echoing every corporate mea culpa ever. The department had referred the problems with this health dataset to the privacy commissioner a year ago, and now says that it has taken unspecified "further steps to protect and manage data". "The department has not been aware of anyone being identified," they finished, as if that somehow excuses them. After all, the dataset is out there in the wild, having presumably been downloaded at least once before being taken offline.