Face database rejected
The Federal Parliament’s security and intelligence committee has rejected plans for a central identity database of Australians.
The bi-partisan, Coalition-led Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security has reviewed a bill that would allow the Department of Home Affairs to collect, verify and share identity information across Commonwealth and state and territory governments.
The bill included plans for a face verification service allegedly to allow documents containing photos of people to be verified online.
But the committee found necessary safeguards had not been adequately explained.
“The committee … expresses broad support for the objectives of the bill but agrees that the bill as it stands does not adequately incorporate enough detail,” committee chair and Liberal MP Andrew Hastie said.
“It is for this reason that the committee recommends that the identity matching services bill 2019 be redrafted.”
Shadow Attorney-General and committee member Mark Dreyfus said the bill carried “almost no limitations or safeguards at all”.
“Labor and Liberal members of the committee are uniting to recommend that the identity matching services bill be completely redrafted and referred back to the intelligence and security committee for further inquiry when it is re-introduced,” he said.
Speaking earlier this year, Immigration Minister David Coleman said the bill would help combat identity theft and other crimes.
“The new face-matching services enabled by this bill will make it harder for people to obtain driver licences in false identities in an attempt to conceal their true identity or avoid traffic fines, demerit points or licence cancellations,” he said.
“This will improve road safety by increasing the detection and prosecution of these offences and deterring dangerous driving behaviour.”
The explanatory memorandum in the legislation said impacts on human rights, particularly privacy, were “reasonable, necessary and proportionate”.