AFP investigates potential of voice biometrics

Australian Federal Police prepares to stand up research project on adding to its existing biometrics capabilities

The Australian Federal Police are preparing to stand up a research project that will examine the potential of investing in a voice biometrics capability.

“We see that is going to become more relevant for law enforcement and I’ll be allocating a resource shortly to assess this technology more with a view to establishing if, where and how we might use it in the future,” said Clifton Frost, the AFP biometrics coordinator.

Frost was addressing the Biometrics Institute’s conference in Sydney.

“I think it’s got some potential,” Frost said of the technology although he’s “not entirely sure of the context” that it would be employed in.

“That’s part of the research, which will be carried out over the next six to 12 months.”

A number of Australian organisations currently employ voice biometrics as a form of authentication, including the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Frost said he is also interested in the potential of next-generation DNA sequencing techniques.

The AFP biometrics chief cited as example of the potential an anti-littering campaign in Hong Kong.

For the campaign DNA samples were taken from discarded rubbish and some assumptions made, based on market research, about the age of the litterer.

A technique called phenotyping was used to generate images of faces that were displayed publicly.

The campaign was dubbed Faces Of Litter. The images that were generated drew on the highly heritable traits exposed by the DNA samples, such as hair colour, face shape and eye colour.

“We’re in really early days and all we’re doing at the moment is research,” Frost said.

“What we see in the medium term is that this will be an intelligence tool and we suspect it’s going to be many years before this technology will be ready for identification to be used in courts.”

Read more: In brief: NEC Australia wins contract for CrimTrac biometrics system

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Tags biometricsAustralian Federal Police (AFP)

More about Australian Federal PoliceAustralian Taxation OfficeBiometricsBiometrics InstituteFederal Police

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