Australian state pushes back over face system
20 April 2018 13:47 GMT

Australia's Victorian government has indicated it is uneasy with the proposed governance arrangements for a new national facial recognition matching service.

The federal government in February unveiled proposed legislation to create a national facial recognition service. The basis for the service is the October 2017 Intergovernmental Agreement on Identity Matching Services (IMS) signed by the federal, state and territory governments.

The Identity-matching Services Bill 2018 and the Australian Passports Amendment (Identity-Matching Services) Bill 2018 are based on the IMS agreement. The intention is to create a Commonwealth-run federated facial recognition system.

In a submission to the federal inquiry into the bills, the Victorian government said it was concerned about the lack of provisions “to support timely reporting, including misuse of data or access breaches by users of the IMS itself”.

“Given that the IMS may be used for surveillance purposes to support law enforcement, we recommend that appropriate security checks and balances be enshrined in the legislation to provide appropriate transparency to give users and the public confidence in the operation of the IMS.”

The Victorian government suggested that an independent regulatory body could be appointed to oversee the system, in a similar manner to the UK’s Office of the Biometrics Commissioner, Investigatory Powers Commissioner and Surveillance Camera Commissioner.