Identity-matching report gets LCA support

By Naomi Neilson|27 October 2019
Arthur Moses SC

The decision to implement greater safeguards and more privacy protections in identity-matching has been supported by the Law Council of Australia.

The Law Council Australia (LCA) has made and supported bipartisan recommendations by the parliamentary committee on intelligence and security (PJCIS). The report addressed concerns about potential scope and application of the proposed law.

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LCA president Arthur Moses said the PJCIS is of “great importance” and has worked in the spirit of bipartisanship to ensure Australia’s national security legislation is “solid” and “proportionate and operating according to the rule of law”.

“There are undoubtedly legitimate and proportionate public interest uses for the facial recognition,” Mr Moses said, adding it was particularly relevant in relation to how law enforcement would use it and how it would factor into national security.

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The committee recommended the bill and related Australian Passports Amendment (Identity-matching Services) Bill 2019 be redrafted.

Among the LCA’s recommendations was concern the bill would have adverse impacts of false matches on privacy, and would undermine the notion of informed consent and have the potential for people to be targeted based on race, ethnicity or religion.

Mr Moses added: “There is an urgent need for appropriate and legislated boundaries to govern [its] application and ensure robust and independent oversight. This is critical as Australia lacks human rights and data protection frameworks.”

The LCA said the committee’s recommendations took into account the unprecedented access all levels of government the private sector would have to Australia’s private biometric information. It also took into account the lack of detail in the bill about the architecture of the proposed identity-matching services and impact on human rights.

Central to the committee’s report was “the need for transparency, proportionality and accountability and oversight in relation to the use of identity-matching technology.”

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Identity-matching report gets LCA support
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