SA facial recognition app trial should not go ahead without safeguards

The Guardian reports on an app being trialled in South Australia that uses facial recognition and geolocation to enforce home quarantine during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our Secretary Michelle Falstein told the Guardian that the lack of primary legislation underpinning apps of this kind has made it difficult to assess how privacy concerns are managed, how long data is being kept, who it’s shared with, and how it is stored.

“It’s the usual thing, it’s done in a very half-baked way, and without all the necessary provisions about what you actually do with the information you’re collecting,” she said.

The NSWCCL wants a moratorium on the use of biometrics and facial recognition in apps like South Australia’s.

Falstein said it was possible for facial verification to be conducted safely and appropriately, with the right safeguards. But she said there were no examples in Australia where such technology had been used in such a way.

“In principle, if it’s one-for-one facial verification and that information is destroyed as soon as that person is finished in quarantine, and there are a whole lot of other safeguards around it, you’d think ‘that’s fine’,” she said.

“But that’s not the case in most circumstances. I certainly can’t see anything around about what the South Australian government is doing with its program.”

Read the article: South Australia facial recognition trial: Covid app blasted by Fox and Breitbart criticised over lack of safeguards The Guardian 4 Sept '21