Concerns over proposed plan for national facial recognition database

Digital Rights Watch has expressed deep concerns over proposed plans that would require drivers license photographs to be included in a national facial recognition database.

“This is a gross overreach into the privacy of everyday Australian citizens,” said Digital Rights Watch Chair Tim Singleton Norton.

“There is a severe lack of strong oversight mechanisms and general enforcement for human rights and civil liberties in this country, which results in the public being understandably wary about giving government more powers in the first place.”

“The public need to be able to trust that governments can adequately house and protect this information. We have seen breaches from agencies such as the Australian Federal Police, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection or the Australian Bureau of Statistics, to name just a few. This should make it very clear that this government is ill-equipped to properly protect citizen’s data.”

“When individuals enter into an agreement with a government agency that includes their personal information, they should have the right to understand, be informed and have a say in where that information is held and what is being used for.”

“Whilst we of course must ensure that our law enforcement agencies have the tools necessary to undertake their important work, this should not come at the expense of citizen’s rights to privacy,” concluded Mr Singleton Norton.