Privacy group complains over Brisbane biometric transport plan
03 October 2017 15:09 GMT

A privacy group in Australia has questioned plans to introduce biometric authentication for mass transit solutions in Brisbane.

Cubic Transportation, which operates Queensland’s Go Card system for TransLink, is running proof of concept trials of palm vein scanning and facial recognition in its London lab.

The Australian Privacy Foundation last week issued a statement on the potential scanning of Brisbane travellers, calling it “a danger to civil rights and privacy”.

“This is an extension of CensusFail, CentrelinkFail and MyHRFail – badly-planned and badly administered big ticket technology projects whose managers and ministers failed to heed warnings,” said group spokesperson Liam Pomfret. “The Foundation asks the Queensland Government to immediately launch a proper public consultation and conduct a privacy impact assessment about the collection and use of biometrics on the state’s public transport system.”

Cubic – which also operates Sydney’s Opal card sytem and London’s Oyster card system – is developing biometric ‘gateless gateline prototype system’ which it says can support a “doubled rate of passenger throughput”.

“The ability to scale biometric technology in mass transit is a key element in enabling a seamless experience in fare vending, validation and revenue collection,” said Cubic research and development engineer Niosha Kayhani, in August.

“It allows our customers to provide their riders with the option to register with the system and provide tailored and improved services for passengers, while collecting advanced data to prevent revenue loss through fare evasion.”