My. How soon people forget.
In 1985, at the national tax summit, the Labor Government proposed the Australia Card:
The card was to amalgamate other government identification systems and act against tax avoidance, and health and welfare fraud.
The proposal died but the idea never went away. It has just crept up. It moved to tax file numbers and then Austrac reporting of $10,000 cash transactions (a threshold that as not increased in 30 years). Now state licences have photos on them which go into a national database. Australian passports have biometric features and passport control officers are slowly being replaced with face recognition systems. Then the privacy and free speech fools that keep on giving, Tony Abbott and George Brandis, gave Australia the metadata retention laws which allow local councils to track citizen movements.
But to top it all off, this morning the AFR reports:
A new federal facial recognition system is set to be rolled out next year as part of a new Australia-wide identity system to replace myGov, which will link services across different governments and private providers.
Let’s all remember that some of the most egregious, intrusive and offensive encroachments into the privacy and civil rights of Australians have been given to Australians by the (not so) Liberal government of Australia. Yes. They were supported by Labor but they were ideated, legislated and implemented by (not so) Liberal governments.
Typically a user will undertake an initial facial recognition process to establish the biometric pass and then will be asked to take a selfie on their phone which will be checked by a sophisticated algorithm to ensure the person is who they say they are.
And a national hub for public servants to spy on citizens because it is in our interests.
The bill seeks to enable a national hub for the checking of facial images on licences and other identity documents for law enforcement and road safety purposes.
The only good news is that this system is being overseen by Stuart Robert, meaning it will likely fail in its first three to four attempts at implementation.
But Australians should not be concerned, no doubt they will get it right at some point making it easy for foreign governments and hackers to know everything about Australians. And with the push to eliminate cash (again by a so called Liberal government) and the expected push to link bank and financial records to such a system, there will be nowhere to hide.
Can’t wait for the social credit system to come. No doubt it will be a (so-called) Liberal government that will lead the charge for this also…
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