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Victorian government calls for privacy safeguards in facial recognition system



The Victorian state government in Australia wants tougher rules for a new proposed national facial recognition system, according to a report published in Computerworld.

In a submission concerning new federal bills pending approval, the state government has noted a lack of provisions “to support timely reporting, including misuse of data or access breaches by users.”

The state government has also stated that since the new system may be used for surveillance purposes to support law enforcement, it recommends that appropriate security checks and balances be included in proposed federal legislation to provide appropriate transparency.

The state governments wants data misuse provisions added since the new federal legislation would allow private sector access to the system. The federal government has said that commercial entities, such as banks, would only be allowed to access a facial verification service, but would be prohibited from accessing a more powerful facial identification service. The state government noted in its submission that the draft federal legislation does not explicitly prohibit commercial organizations from accessing services outside of the verification service.

The Victorian state government also recommended that the Australian federal government use an independent regulatory body to oversee the system, in order to provide more public confidence.

The full submission (PDF) by the Victorian government addressing the draft Identity-matching Services Bill and the Australian Passports Amendment (Identity-Matching Services) Bill is available online. The bills are based upon the October 2017 Intergovernmental Agreement on Identity Matching Services (IMS) signed by Australia’s federal, state and territory governments.

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