07 November 2018

You’re part of a National Facial Biometric Matching scheme...

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New laws will allow federal and state government to access data and photos from passports, driver licences and visas as part of a national facial recognition system; the ‘ National Facial Biometric Matching capability’.

Unlike My Health Record, citizens won’t be able to opt out of their details being included in the system.

The NSW Minister for Counter-Terrorism David Elliott said it would enable authorities “to quickly identify a person of interest to help keep the community safe," according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

A Parliamentary Joint Committee inquiry into allowing identity matching services for “identity or community protection activities” has attracted submissions labelling the laws a breach of privacy rights.

Monash University Criminal Jurisprudence Professor Liz Campbell argued that the collection, storage and sharing of personal details from innocent people not suspected of an offence would compromise privacy rights.

Alongside this are the concerns that predictive algorithms misidentify ethnic minorities and women at higher rates than the rest of the population.

While Minister Elliott said there will be a threshold limiting the use of the system, there are currently no proper definitions of how the data will be used.

"People will not be charged for jaywalking just because their facial biometric information has been matched by law enforcement agencies," Mr Elliott said in state parliament. "The Government will make sure that members of the public who have a driver licence are well and truly advised that this information and capability will be introduced as part of this legislation.

"I am an avid libertarian when it comes to freedom from government interference and [concerns] have been forecasted and addressed in this legislation."

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Written by: Claire Dowler

Claire is the manager of Akolade’s government and digital portfolio. She’s passionate about emerging digital trends, particularly in the public sector. In her spare time she enjoys picking up heavy things and putting them back down again and animals are her favourite kind of people. 

Follow me on LinkedIn for information regarding future Akolade events as well as future blog posts @ Claire Dowler

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