Further questions are being asked about the state government's decision to collect Tasmanians' biometric data using driver licences, with a prominent legal academic suggesting the move may be in breach of our privacy laws.
The University of Tasmania's Brendan Gogarty, a constitutional lawyer, has spoken out about the government's decision to upload the data to a "segregated" system, before an identity-matching bill has passed the Federal Parliament.
The state government amended the Vehicle and Traffic (Driver Licensing and Vehicle Registration) Regulations to allow it to collect biometric data whenever Tasmanians sign forms to obtain or renew a licence, which didn't require legislation to be brought before the Parliament.
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"I think the government is demonstrating a culture in which they don't consider parliamentary authorisation to be necessary to alter citizens' rights anymore," Dr Gogarty said.
"There is a strong argument to suggest that the [State Growth] Department, in collecting the data for a purpose that doesn't relate to its functions or activities, contradicts the objects of Tasmania's Personal Information Protection Act.
"There's loophole in the legislation prohibiting the 'use or disclosure [of personal information]' unless 'required or authorised by or under law'.
"As such the government likely considers that the amended regulations now override the privacy act. There is a strong argument to say they don't but, either way, it indicates the weakness of our privacy laws and the lack of a charter of rights."
Dr Gogarty's comments come after revelations that a company is trialling facial recognition technology in a handful of Australian schools - thanks in part to a Commonwealth grant.
In 2017, an intergovernmental agreement was struck at a Council of Australian Governments meeting to share and match biometric data across jurisdictions as a means of combating identity crime and promoting law enforcement, national security, road safety, community safety and better service delivery.
Victoria and Tasmania are the only states to begin uploading data to the national system prior to laws being passed at the federal level.
But less than two weeks ago, the federal bipartisan Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security rejected the plan, recommending the legislation be redrafted due to supposedly lacking sufficient accountability measures, as well as safeguards to protect people's right to privacy.
Law Society of Tasmania president Crystal Garwood said she agreed with the Law Council of Australia that "the widespread use of identity-matching services upon the vast majority of Australians must be justified as being aimed at a legitimate objective and be reasonable and proportionate".
A state government spokesperson said "fearmongering" around its efforts to "combat the growing scourge of identity fraud" was "misplaced and potentially misleading".
"The [Face Matching Service] will help combat the growing scourge of identity fraud, which impacts around one in every twenty Australians, costing about $2.2 billion per year," the spokesperson said.
"Tasmanians would rightly expect their government to take action to protect their most important identity documents."