International cooperation in combating terrorism is a no-brainer value add.Â AndÂ we often try to address on this blog ways in which cooperation can be deepened â€“ or established in the first place as the case may be.Â So I was interested — and concerned — to read about a database under joint development by the U.S. Australia, UK, Canada, Japan, and China.Â
The database will house biometric data on individuals in order to identify people based on fingerprints, but also such things as voice and facial expression.Â These â€œsignaturesâ€ are intended to help homeland security authorities better identify and trace terrorists and other suspects.
A story today on News.com.auÂ covered an international forensics conference taking place this week in Australia where this developing database was described by American Patrick Wang, a professor at Northeastern University who spoke at the event. Wang explained that â€œcross-country collaboration is already under way. There have been some very minor achievements, but people still expect to spend more money and time and to achieve a solution that cannot afford any more mistakes – aiming for 100 per cent accuracy.â€
Biometrics are used across many parts of the private sector for facility entry credentials.Â But the homeland security and law enforcement communities are gaining momentum. Next month, the FBI will let a contract for a $1 billion revamp of their fingerprints database (IAFIS) into a robust multi-metric identification database called Next Generation Identification that will include the ability to process, store, and analyze several other biometrics. DHS recently started its Biometric Storage System to support its immigration services and other credentialing programs. Could the international database gain access to NGI and BSS? Perhaps these U.S. databases will hoover the international sources.
Professor Wang scopes the effort as follows: “We’re talking about the internet, telephony, mobile phones, mobile phone cameras, digital cameras – all of these are being used not only to commit crimes but also to solve crimes,” he said.