Vic govt concerned with "breadth" of facial recognition laws

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Vic govt concerned with "breadth" of facial recognition laws

Cracks emerge in intergovernmental agreement.

The Victorian government has called out the federal government’s new facial biometrics matching legislation for going “beyond the scope” of the agreement signed with the states and territories last year.

Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings raised the state government's concerns to the parliamentary committee reviewing the government’s Identity-matching Services Bill and the Australian Passports Amendment (Identity Matching Services) Bill.

The bills, which were introduced to federal parliament in February, will formalise an agreement signed between federal, state and territory leaders last October to establish a capability for law enforcement agencies to share and access identity information in real time.

Despite broadly supporting the use of the scheme, Jennings questioned the “breadth of consent, use and disclosure of identification information” in the IMS bill, which he said wasn't covered in the original agreement.

“The IMS bill goes beyond the scope of the IGA [Intergovernmental Agreement on Identity Matching Services] in several respects”, he said in a submission on behalf of Premier Daniel Andrews.

“It provides for the minister to prescribe new types of identification information, new identity-matching services and an authority that may request the provision of facial identification services, thus providing significant scope for going beyond what was agreed in the IGA.

“It is possible that, because of this, a situation may arise where the Commonwealth is authorised to collect information as part of the IMS that Victoria is not authorised to disclose under its legislation or otherwise.”

He said this was particularly a problem with the definition of identification information, which the IMS bill stipulates includes “other types of licenses and photo identification cards held by states and territories, such as proof of ages, firearms licenses and marine licences”.

“At this time, Victoria has no plans to provide other identification information data sets to the Commonwealth beyond driver’s licence information, such as marine and junior firearms licence information which may be issued to persons as young as 12 years of age,” he said.

Jennings also raised concerns with the “broad powers” granted to the Department of Home Affairs “to use and disclose identification information”, recommending this power “be limited”, and the lack of misuse of data provisions.

The Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner last month raised similar concerns with the potential for scope creep.

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