14 November 2018
The government rushed through legislation to allow agencies to share photographic and identity details with a facial recognition database so they can be matched with unidentified images from CCTV or other recordings.
The system has the capability for government surveillance of citizens and the federal Minister for Home Affairs will have discretion on how it can be used. In reply to my human rights concerns, the Attorney General said it’s limited to crimes punishable by at least three years in prison, but this is not in the legislation and some will push to use it for low level crimes and public nuisance.
People applying for a driver’s licence or identity card will have no idea that their information and images will be stored for unrelated purposes in a mega database. While mass surveillance sounds like dystopian fiction, government surveillance in many countries targets people who protest or dissent and Australia is not immune to governments expanding surveillance to promote an agenda. Over the last two decades, we have seen a progressive claw back of human rights in the name of law, order and safety and I joined Greens crossbenchers to oppose the bill. My speech: HERE.