Abrasions to the privacy of Australians’
The Australian government’s recent interest in expanding their surveillance powers since the two years it was founded, is concerning for its residents and their rights. Facial recognition technology has become drastically popular all over the world since its extremely helpful in lowering crime. Facial recognition is a biometric software application capable of uniquely identifying or verifying a person based off of a person’s facial contours. In the United States, the law enforcement uses it to identify civilians, track threats to the country, and prevent retail crime. Though there may be other unorthodox uses for it, the technology is mainly used to keep the criminals off the streets. On the other hand, the Australian government uses the technology in a way that poses a potential breach of the right of its residents. On October 29th, 2019, the Department of Home Affairs in Australia proposed using a facial recognition system it was developing to verify that people who want to view pornography online are of legal age. Even though, current law in Australia does not prohibit minors from viewing adult sites.
This isn’t the first time the Australia government has proposed a use of facial recogntion software. There have been many instances that lead people to believe the ambitions of the department have been solely focused on the increase of the usage of facial recognition technology. Last year, the department proposed facial recognition as a way to put an end to identity fraud, but they rejected the suggestions that a warrant was necessary to access the country’s facial recognition database. In recent years, governments on both sides of the political aisle has given more power to the law enforcement, and much less power to the people. Australia is a democratic nation but they do not have a Bill of Rights that clearly state the rights of its residents. The Australian government is taking full advantage of that.
Even though Australia has frequently passed laws that encourage the use of facial recognition technology, the most recent proposal was unusual and raised a few red flags. The Department of Home Affairs made its proposal in a submission to a parliamentary inquiry for proposals online age verification for both pornography and gambling. They would identify the user through a face verification database. The department sent in a bill that proposed the creation of the facial identification database, which would allow the department to collect, verify, and share identity information across federal and state governments. However, the bill did “not adequately incorporate enough detail” and “there were no limitations or safeguards at all.” The fate of the bill is still unknown but the motive behind it seems to be Australia’s need for their residents to not keep anything from them, no matter how personal.
The Australian government has slowly been stripping away the privacy of its residents. The frequent passing of bills that allow the government to invade the privacy of its residents is unjust. Many people have showed their dislike for the bills, but their voices aren’t heard over the cheers of the government. Even though they don’t have an actual right to privacy, the government should respect them as human beings. The people of Australia don’t deserve to have their lives monitored via facial recognition for something as personal as viewing pornography.