Australian Government Claims That Facial Recognition Systems Increase Privacy...

from the even-orwell-would-have-said-this-goes-too-far dept

Via Josh Taylor, we learn of the recently released "Intergovernmental Agreement on Identity Matching Services", which is a fancy way of saying that the federal government and Australian state and territory governments had agreed to work together on a big face recognition surveillance system. But the truly incredible thing is that these Australian governments have decided to try to out-Orwell Orwell, by arguing that pervasive facial recognition is actually... good for privacy.

The Identity Matching Services will help promote privacy by strengthening the integrity and security of Australia’s identity infrastructure—the identity management systems of government Agencies that issue Australia’s core identity documents such as driver licences and passports. These systems play an important role in preventing identity crime. Identity crime is one of the most common and costly crimes in Australia and is a key enabler of serious and organised crime. Identity crime is also a threat to privacy when it involves the theft or assumption of the identity of an individual. The misuse of personal information for criminal purposes causes substantial harm to the economy and individuals each year.

That's... an impressive level of bullshit. As Steven Clark points out... that's not privacy.

We often see people make the silly claim that security and privacy are at odds with one another, which we believe is generally not true. In fact, there are strong arguments that greater privacy increases security by better protecting everyone (go encryption!). But here, Australia appears to be trying to flip that rationale totally on its head by arguing that the more security you have, the better it is for privacy, because they'll catch those nasty criminals who aim to do harm to your privacy. But... that's not privacy. Indeed, it says nothing of how governments, for example, might violate everyone's privacy with such a system (which is a larger concern than your everyday criminal).

It's difficult to take such a system seriously, when this is how they approach the privacy question.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: australia, facial recognition, privacy, security

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Oct 2017 @ 7:35pm


    Pretty sure France and Britain lead the way. Years ahead of the States

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord

The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...

Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.