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National facial recognition ‘incompatible with a free society’, privacy groups warn

Australia’s leading privacy and civil liberties organisations have condemned the decision by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to provide all images from state and territory driver’s licence databases to a national facial biometric capability system.

The organisations, including the Australian Privacy Foundation, Digital Rights Watch, Queensland Council for Civil Liberties, NSW Council for Civil Liberties, Liberty Victoria, South Australian Council for Civil Liberties and Electronic Frontiers Australia, have called the comprehensive facial recognition database ‘unnecessary’ and ‘fundamentally incompatible with a free and open society’.

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Premier Hodgman on ‘anti-terrorism’ changes: “This is the new world order”

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has assured Australians that national facial biometric matching capability would “only bring existing arrangements into real time”, after the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to a suite of new ‘anti-terrorism’ measures yesterday.

As the mainstream establishment continues to dismiss privacy concerns of advocates across the country, Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman seemingly showed no reserve in support of the overhaul, declaring “we live in very uncertain times” and “this is the new world order”.

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Queensland announces trials to replace public transport cards with facial recognition

Public transport commuters in Queensland will be able ‘to use their faces as a ticket to board trains and buses’ in the near future, after it was announced on Thursday that trials will commence to replace the current ‘Go Card’ digital network with facial recognition technology.

Cubic Corporation, the company initially behind the ‘Go Card’, will trial the use of biometric identification technology to enable passengers to pay their fares in a ‘seamless, efficient way’, with card-operated gates to eventually be replaced by machines which scan an individual’s eyes or the unique pattern of veins in the palm of their hand.

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Commonwealth Games: Privacy Commissioner slams facial recognition plans as ‘unprecedented’

Queensland’s Privacy Commissioner has raised concerned over plans to use facial recognition technology to identify suspected ‘terrorists’ during the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018.

Biometric identification technology is set to be deployed on the Gold Coast public transport network early next year, including trains, trams and buses at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, to identify potential ‘terror suspects’ before they can interrupt the proceedings.

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Facial recognition to replace passports in radical security overhaul at Australian airports

Australia’s Customs and Border Protection will install 92 facial recognition terminals in international airports as part of an $18 million deal to replace passports with a “contactless” biometric identification system.

The program will see all international passengers processed by biometric recognition of the face, iris or fingerprints, incoming paper passenger cards abolished, and manned stations replaced by electronic stations and automatic triage.

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Australian schools are now implementing biometric identification technology

Parents have been told their concerns about privacy are ‘unwarranted’ after being advised children as young as five will have their fingerprints scanned at school as part of a controversial new biometric student attendance record-keeping program being introduced across Australia.

The system, an adaptation of previous programs that were suspended by the government due to privacy concerns, will allow students to register they are at school by placing their finger on a pad.

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Census 2016: ‘The most significant invasion of privacy ever perpetrated on Australians’

For more than 100 years, the Census has “provided a snapshot of Australia, showing how our nation has changed over time and allowing us to plan for the future.”

However, as Australians prepare to partake in the latest Census tomorrow, there has been some concerning new changes to the process that has outraged citizens and privacy advocates, as Ethan Nash explains.

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Mark of the Beast: Visa polls Australians about payments with RFID implants

This week, in an article published by The Australian, it has been revealed that Visa and the University of Technology in Sydney have announced a partnership to explore the future of ‘wearable technology’, including the development of a new implanted device to make every day transactions easier for the public:

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South Australia set to expand police fingerprinting powers, forced blood tests

John Rau ensures the public that these measures are necessary. Photo: Adelaide Now South Australians who refuse to submit to on-the-spot fingerprint scans will face up to three months behind bars or a $1250 fine, under promised election proposals by Attorney-General and Deputy Premier, John Rau last year. In an article by the Adelaide Advertiser, it has […]

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The Fall of Australia: An overview of new ‘anti-terrorism’ legislation

Following a number of counter-terrorism raids and foiled ‘beheading plots’ over the past month, the Australian government has passed a new amendment to existing ‘anti-terrorism’ legislation to combat domestic threats at home, with two more legislative pieces expected to be introduced and passed by the end of the year.

In the following feature piece, Ethan Nash takes an in-depth look at all three stages of the new legislation, including an analysis of how media and government authorities have manipulated public perception, capitalised on pre-conceived fears to erode personal freedoms in unprecedented fashion, and set the catalyst for an Orwellian state to subtlety expand.

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