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Home Office spunks another £12.8m on face recog tech

Before £8m spent on IRIS has a chance to hit bottom of bin

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The Home Office is offering £12.8m for new facial recognition technology according to a tender notice from Home Office Procurement published on 12 June.

The new multi-million pound face scanners would be used to determine an applicant's right to a British passport: and must be able to compare the biometric data extracted from the scans of the faces of punters as well as their related biographical data against huge datasets.

The new facial recog tech will need to work within the existing framework of the Border Agency's tech systems - systems demonstrated recently to be fragile – and will operate with the same biometric and biographical data that is currently used.

Beyond the recognition gadgets and the data-scanning software, the Home Office also expects the bidder to provide a system to manage the tech that can easily be borged into the existing Home Office systems.

The notice specifies:

The architecture will comprise a face recognition capability, business rules capability, workflow capability, management information, audit and an data interface from an existing application system. The solution will use existing biographic and biometric information as part of the Facial Recognition checks, with appropriate result based data stored with each check.

The Home Office doesn't have a great track record when it comes to procuring identity-checking technology: its Iris scanners were panned as an £8m cul-de-sac by MPs earlier this year.

Hopefully this procurement session will go a bit better.

the department is accepting bids for the two parts both separately and as a unit. ®

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