Sydney Criminal Lawyers: The Proposed “Voluntary” National Digital ID System May Involve Facial Recognition

In late January of this year, news bulletins included details about the just released user audit report into myGov: “the government’s front door for digital services and support”, or put more plainly, a digital platform that currently links users to fifteen government services, including Medicare and Centrelink.

“myGov is critical national infrastructure” was the key takeaway, which was reiterated throughout the media, along with the ever-increasing use of myGov warranting greater investment to improve it in terms of expanding available services and making them less fragmented online.

But what wasn’t so front and centre was a report recommendation calling for the acceleration of the “development of Australia’s national digital identity ecosystem”, and that this online scheme, which will involve biometric facial recognition technology, should perhaps be integrated into myGov.

This development hold numerous privacy concerns which were outlined by NSW Council for Civil Liberties assistant secretary Michelle Falstein in an interview last month.

“I don’t think it’s a given,” Falstein said, in relation to a national digital ID scheme being rolled out. “When you look at the history of the Australia Card, that was also quiet at first and didn’t have full support in both houses, but it wasn’t something people were aware of.”

“However, it then became extremely unpopular when attention was drawn to the consequences and alternatives that existed,” the civil liberties advocate added. “So, it’s a matter of people acting diligently and paying attention to what this means to their autonomy and their privacy.”

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