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Law Council of Australia


Review of the Identity-Matching Services Bill 2019 and the Australian Passports Amendment (Identity-matching Services) Bill 2019

The submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Security and Intelligence’s (Committee) review of the Identity-Matching Services Bill 2019 (Cth) (IMS Bill) and the Australian Passports Amendment (Identity-matching Services) Bill 2019 (Cth) was prepared by the Law Council. 

The Law Council provided a submission and supplementary submission to the Committee’s review into the Identity-matching Services Bill 2018 (Cth) and the Australian Passports Amendment (Identity-matching services) Bill 2018 (Cth) (2018 Bills).

The Law Council also provided evidence to the Committee at its hearing on 3 May 2018. The Law Council thanks the Committee for accepting this previous contribution as evidence for the current review. 

The specific issues already raised by the Law Council in 2018 are reiterated in this submission, as are the specific recommendations for technical reform. Some of the key concerns raised by the Law Council regarding the facial recognition capabilities of the identity-matching services proposed by the IMS Bill are:

(a) the effectiveness of the technology to correctly identify individuals and the adverse impact on privacy from false matches;

(b) the undermining of the notion of informed consent;

(c) the potential for individuals to be targeted based on their membership of a particular race, ethnic group or religion;

(d) the privacy safeguards referred to in the Intergovernmental Agreement of Identity Matching Services (Intergovernmental Agreement) are not reflected in the IMS Bill; and

(e) weaknesses in oversight and accountability measures.

A key purpose of this submission is to highlight that the increase in the use of closedcircuit television (CCTV) with facial recognition technology in both public and semipublic spaces around Australia, such as streets, parks, stadiums and transport hubs, heightens the requirement for the IMS Bill to include appropriate, legislated boundaries for reasonable and proportionate use of identity-matching services and effective and independent oversight.

You can read the full submission below.


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