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New ID Laws In Your Face, Say Privacy Advocates

Privacy advocates have raised concerns about legislation before Federal Parliament that would allow government agencies and private businesses to access facial IDs held by State and Territory traffic authorities, such as driving licence and passport photos.

The Morrison Government has justified the legislation, by saying it’s cracking down on identity fraud. The Home Affairs Department estimates the annual cost of ID fraud at US$2.2 billion.

Introducing a facial component to the document verification service would help prevent it, according to the Government. The verification service is already used by 100 government agencies and 700 businesses – and under the new provisions would be bolstered by a facial identification service for law enforcement.

Almost all State and Territory governments have updated their driver’s licence laws in anticipation of the new database.

The Australian Human Rights Commission has raised concerns about the database, saying facial recognition technology remains unreliable.

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