Million of Australians from three separate states have now had their driver’s licence data uploaded to the federal government’s national facial biometrics matching database.
Road agencies in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania recently completed the upload of licence details and photographs to the National Driver Licence Facial Recognition Solution (NDLFRS).
But with the system for law enforcement agencies to share and access identity information in real-time still under development and not yet operational, states will initially have access to only their own data.
Federal, state and territory leaders agreed to establish the NDLFRS in October 2017 to replace current image-based identification methods, which are considered slow and often involve manual intervention.
Managed by Home Affairs on behalf of the states and territories, the system will store “biometric templates created from facial images provided by states and territories centrally”.
However, each state road agency will retain control over the images and other identity information from their driver’s licences.
Victoria and Tasmania were the first two states to commit to begin uploading data to the system in September, with other states and territories to come on-board before September 2021.
South Australia has since appeared on the federal government’s dedicated website outlining identity services.
All three governments are planning to use the new identity matching technology for a crackdown on identity fraud.
There are currently more than 6 million licences across the three states, including around 4.7 million in Victoria and 1.3 million in South Australia.
The NDLFRS is anticipated to be fully operational by the end of 2021, pending the passage of proposed laws that allow for the federal government’s planned facial biometrics matching scheme.
They would allow authorised agencies to use the government’s facial verification service (FVS) and facial identification service (FIS) to share and match facial images
But the planned laws are currently stalled after being rejected by a bipartisan parliamentary committee on privacy and transparency grounds.
The committee was unconvinced by the planned architecture for identity-matching services and the general lack of detail offered in the Identity-matching Services Bill 2019.