The New Zealand immigration department has implemented a new biometric capability update (BCU) designed to better identify fraudulent applications and reduce manual interventions. The BCU will use biometric data such as fingerprints, face photos, and DNA samples to ensure the people presenting at the border or applying for entry are who they claim to be.
The move follows an assessment of INZ’s identity management system conducted by the privacy commissioner and has drawn scrutiny from privacy advocates due to potential risks associated with biometrics, including function-creep, lack of transparency, and surveillance and profiling. Special attention is being paid to ensure there is no bias against New Zealand’s indigenous Maori population when collecting biometric data.
This update is part of New Zealand’s commitment to the Five Country Conference (FCC), an international agreement on exchanging biometric data for immigration purposes involving Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. It is expected that this overhaul will streamline the immigration process and create a smoother, safer experience for all.
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