South Australia may have gotten a head start with trials in 2015, but New South Wales (NSW) is also committing to a driverless car future. Automated cars without drivers could be on NSW roads within five years, the state's minister for transport, Andrew Constance, predicted at a summit on the future of transport in Sydney Monday. "We're going to have driverless cars on our streets, in our suburbs," he told reporters. In his opinion, the South Australian government may have "jumped the gun a little bit" with its initial road tests last year. To support its own rollout of driverless cars, the NSW State Government announced the creation of a Smart Innovation Centre in western Sydney.
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 Department of Home Affairs has labelled a suggested warrant requirement to access Australia's facial recognition database as a "resource-intensive" process that could cause significant delays to matters of national security and potentially undermine law-enforcement investigations. In a submission [PDF] to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, Home Affairs said that although it is not clear how often government agencies will use the Face Identification Service (FIS), "it is likely that a requirement to obtain a warrant would effectively prevent government agencies from using the services, or obtaining the benefits of the services, in many cases". The department believes the privacy benefits of requiring agencies to obtain a warrant would likely be "significantly outweighed" by the decreased ability of agencies to carry out their law-enforcement and national security functions. "Obtaining a warrant is a resource-intensive process, both for the applicant agency and for the issuing authority hearing the application," Home Affairs wrote. "The time involved in preparing, reviewing, and granting a warrant application to use services would significantly delay, and in some circumstances undermine, law-enforcement and national security investigations; impede operational activity, including the prevention of criminal acts; and divert resources from investigations."
Western Australia's Office of the Auditor General (OAG) has made six recommendations to state government agencies after it was found six agencies had previously been the target of malware campaigns. According to the OAG, the six agencies probed -- which included the Department of the Attorney General, Department of Mines and Petroleum, Department of Transport, Main Roads Western Australia, and the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) -- were under constant threat, which it said highlighted the need for improved central governance arrangements to identify, warn of, and prevent attacks. In its report [PDF], Malware in the WA State Government, the OAG said as a result of the audit, it made "detailed recommendations" to each agency that came under the microscope. The explicit details were not published, but instead, the OAG offered up the broader six recommendations it made, which included an in-depth assessment of the risk to the agency malware poses, improving any controls the OAG identified as ineffective, and that each agency consider additional controls to better secure its networks, systems, and data against malware. TPG to focus on FttB, mobile, corporate business to manage NBN margin squeeze Productivity Commission draft report calls time on USO as NBN looms Risk vs. Opportunity: Data use and availability in Australia NSW government seeks partner to trial Uber-like public transport Optus inks AU$40m contract extension with security firm Suretek Under the careful watch of the OGCIO, the Auditor General said it wants to see the WA public sector consider methods to foster "collaboration, information, and resource sharing" between agencies.