Queensland parliamentary committee approves biometrics sharing laws

A Queensland parliamentary committee has approved new laws to give police access to the new national facial biometrics system, after a public comment period of five days, iTnews reports.

The “Police and Other Legislation (Identity and Biometrics Capability)” bill was introduced to the legislature on February 15, and would give police access to digital drivers’ license images for law enforcement purposes unrelated to transport without having to obtain a warrant, and would also end a requirement for the Department of Transport and Main Roads to report to parliament annually on access to the images.

The committee recommended that a review of the new laws be conducted two years after they are passed, rather than five, but otherwise approved it without change.

Concerns have been expressed about several aspects of the changes, including uncertainty over whether image matching service (IMS) evidence would be admissible, according to iTnews. The committee addressed some of the concerns, saying that “the removal of access safeguards, the removal of existing usage reporting requirements and the risk of ‘function creep'” could be addressed through appropriate oversight.

The laws are expected to be passed ahead of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in April.

The proposed bill follows the introduction of a national facial recognition services law for Australia in February. Meanwhile, the country’s digital identification platform is advancing to beta, and will soon allow individuals to create an online ID through the Digital Transformation Agency.

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