In September 2023 the Identity Verification Services Bill 2023 was introduced to Parliament. The Bill was referred to an Inquiry by the Senate Standing Committees on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, and Digital Rights Watch made a submission. The Committee is required to report by the 9th of November 2023.
The bill creates a legislative framework to support the operation of identity verification services which are already on offer by the Commonwealth to allow government agencies and industry to compare or verify personal information on identity documents against existing government records, such as passports, drivers licenses, and birth certificates.
This includes one-to-one matching services such as the Document Verification Service (DVS) and Facial Verification Service (FVS), which was used over 140 million times in 2022.
This is the ALP’s re-vamped version of the Coalition’s controversial Identity Matching Services Bill 2019, which was so strongly criticised that it was sent back to the drawing board by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security due to concerns about the lack of privacy protections and the ability to enable mass surveillance.
The new IVS Bill has since then been moved out of the hands of Home Affairs, and into the Attorney-General’s Department. The proposed legislation is an improvement on its previous iteration, however we remain concerned with the potential to abuse the system, scope creep, a lack of public trust, and wishy-washy commitments to privacy.
You can read our full submission to the Inquiry below, or download the PDF here.