Talking voiceprint biometrics on 1395 FIVEaa

FIVEaa logo“Two of America’s biggest retail banks — JPMorgan Chase & Co, and Wells Fargo & Co — are quietly recording the biometric details of some callers’ voices to weed out fraud,” reported Associated Press this week. The news caught the eye of Will Goodings at 1395 FIVEaa in Adelaide. I told him that the Americans are way behind Australia on this one.

All of the Big Four banks here are already using voiceprints. In the case of NAB and Westpac, since about 2009.

In fact, Australia is a world leader in voiceprint technology. In a Patch Monday podcast from March 2012, I spoke with Dr Clive Summerfield, chief executive of Auraya, who told me that Australia’s social services agency Centrelink has been using voiceprints to identify callers since 2005, and more than 95% of callers are identified this way. Voiceprints are also used by the Australian Taxation Office.

Here’s a recording of the conversation we had on air on Friday afternoon, complete with a talkback caller who followed me.

Play

The audio is ©2014 dmgRadio Australia.

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1 comment

  1. Steve Wilson (@Steve_Lockstep)’s avatar

    IANAL but I am not sure that the collection of biometric data is in fact covered by the long-established notice that ‘this call may be monitored or recorded’. Since March 2014, biometric data has been classified as Sensitive Personal Information in Australia (under the amended Privacy Act) and that means biometrics cannot be collected without Consent.
    I have experienced (and declined) the ATO’s new voice printing security feature, which is prefaced by a clear request for permission.
    So the outcome of voice printing – if it works properly – can be seen as privacy positive as Stil says, but the mechanics of it, under the Privacy Act, does require informed consent. That seems like a missing piece to me.
    There is a legal technicality that has to be investigated and put to bed: if biometric voice prints have been collected prior to March 2014 (or if voice recordings made earlier and then processed biometrically) what is the standing of that collection now that biometrics are classed as Sensitive?

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