Border Force officers at Australia’s eight international airports are trialling the use of Apple iPhones as portable biometric scanners, able to identify suspicious non-citizen travellers

The department’s identity and biometrics division head Joe Franzi last week told a Canberra conference that the latest iPhones give officers the ability to “very quickly take a minimum of four fingerprints [from a referred non-citizen], and in less than 60 seconds [run] those fingerprints… against departmental holdings”.

“All the immigration passport information, various name changes, you name it, everything we hold on that person, including their face, comes up on screen for the officer,” he told the GovInnovate conference in Canberra.

The department currently collects biometric information from the visa applicants of more than 40 countries across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

It plans to also use the system to link the national facial biometrics system being developed by the Attorney-General’s Department, which was recently granted access to records of drivers’ licence images by all state and territory governments.