New draft criminal legislation sparks privacy concerns in Australia

A draft legislation currently before the Australian federal parliament could allow state agencies and several companies to access a new biometric database compiled by state authorities. According to the Guardian, the Australian home affairs department estimates that the annual cost of ID fraud is $2.2bn, and that introducing a facial component to the government’s document verification service would help prevent it. According to ITnews, the Australian government intends to upload driving license details and photographs to a separate system that will eventually interface with the National Drivers License Facial Recognition Solution.  The state of Victoria has become one of the first states to upload drivers’ license data into this national facial biometrics database. The Guardian reports that privacy groups that the proposal is highly invasive, because the system could be integrated into a number of other systems that collect facial data.