Tuesday, 03 October 2017 20:43

Turnbull to push for national facial recognition database

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Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is set to push the premiers of the country's states and territories to agree to set up a national facial recognition database.

The push will come at a counter-terror summit to be held on Thursday, 9NEWS reported today quoting government sources.

Turnbull will ask the premiers to turn over pictures of all licensed drivers to federal agencies so that the database can be built and used in surveillance cameras.

Russia recently fitted thousands of security cameras across its capital, Moscow, with facial recognition technology to track what it says are criminals and terror suspects.

The technology checks live footage from 5000 cameras against police and public databases looking for wanted people.

At present, Australian federal agencies have access to both passport and visa application pictures lodged by Australian citizens, but the information that is part of a licence is more comprehensive.

The initiative will be known as the National Facial Biometric Matching Capability, and it has been on the agenda of law enforcement agencies for a while.

However, it has faced opposition from privacy advocates as experiences abroad have shown that the technology tends to err in identifying people quite often.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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