The Australian government is ending its plans for a national biometric database meant to help police departments track suspects and other persons of interest, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission announced Friday. Surveillance and security company NEC was awarded the contract in 2016, but after a third-party audit found the project had nearly doubled its budget, ACIC terminated the contact.
“NEC is extremely disappointed by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission decision to terminate the Biometric Identification Services project. NEC has worked closely with the ACIC to deliver the BIS project and have clearly demonstrated to the ACIC that we already have a high quality solution that will meet their needs,” a spokesman said in a statement to Australian press.
The Biometric Identification Services project’s goal was to expand Australia’s fingerprint identification system by adding facial recognition, palm prints, and foot prints. An audit delivered by consulting group PriceWaterhouseCoopers in November found the project was a year behind schedule and $40 million AUD (£22 million) over its budget of $46 million AUD (£26 million). The report found the project “has been highly challenged to date, and presents a high risk to the ACIC,” ultimately warning against scrapping the project and recommending an overhaul, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
ACIC hasn’t announced if it plans to pursue a different company to build the biometric database. [News 18]