Qld inks biometric licence with Unisys
Queensland digital: A new face recognition system for digital drivers licences in the state
The Queensland government has retained the services of American multinational tech firm Unisys to deliver its digital drivers licence scheme, as the identity competition heats up between the states and Commonwealth.
Unisys has been contracted by the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads since 2009, and has now inked a new deal to design, build and manage its biometric facial and signature image processing solution.
Queensland introduced a smart card licence that uses biometric technology to verify an individual’s identity when applying for a new drivers licence or renewing an existing one. There has been 4.5 million drivers licence applications issued under this scheme.
The state government is also pushing ahead with a digital licence to replace the hardcopy licence, and recently announced two trials of the technology in Maryborough and Hervey Bay.
As part of the new deal, Unisys will provide the state with a new Facial Signature Image Processing system based on the company’s Stealth(identity) “multi-factor identity management and authentication solution”, which automates the biometric enrolment process and provides “configurable APIs to integrate biometric authentication across physical and digital channels”.
Department chief information officer Sandra Slater said the aim of the scheme was to reduce identity fraud in the state.
“Our smart card licences are a very secure form of documentation, as they are hard to forge or alter. This helps reduce the risk of identity theft to Queensland licence holders and gives them confidence their personal licence information is being kept secure,” Ms Slater said.
“By moving to Unisys’ Stealth(identity) modern image capture platform, we are ensuring the high standards are maintained into the future.”
None of the biometric data will be stored by Unisys, the company confirmed.
A number of other state governments are pursuing digital licence offerings, along with broader digital identity plays that will likely be integrated and accredited against the Commonwealth’s federated digital identity project, GovPass.
The federal government has now chipped in nearly $150 million to its GovPass project, with two government-funded entities already having their digital identities accredited: Australia Post and the ATO.
The government is offering the ATO solution, myGovID, to the states and territories, or giving them the option to pursue their own digital identity service and have it accredited under the GovPass scheme.
South Australia became the first state to take the Commonwealth up on the myGovID offer, signing a deal last year.
The New South Wales state government had planned to officially launched its own digital drivers licence scheme in August, but this has now been delayed to “late 2019”. More than 14,000 residents already have a digital licence as part of a series of trials, and can be used for police checks and to get into licenced venues.
Victoria is also pursuing its own digital identity with a goal to having it in the federal government’s ecosystem, but its smartphone-based digital identity verification system got off to a rocky start as part of a trial of the solar rebate scheme, with high rates of failure and anger among businesses over the technology.