Tasmanians who recently had their driver's licences renewed are speaking out about what they say was a lack of transparency around how the state government intended to use their image.
Tasmania was the first jurisdiction to begin uploading driver's licence data to the national Identity Matching Services system in December 2018, about a year after an intergovernmental agreement was struck to upload citizens' driver's licence, passport and visa information to various databases managed by the Home Affairs Department.
As at March 18 this year, the state government had uploaded 430,113 of its citizens' driver's licence photos.
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The system is being framed as one that will help combat identity crime.
It will use a computer program to generate a unique code based on a person's distinctive facial features, which can then be used to confirm their identity or detect any attempted fraud or identity theft using their name.
Paul Taylor, of Burnie, said the government hadn't been "forthcoming" about its participation in the system. "I have to renew my licence," he said. "I don't have a choice."
"I just want them to know that they've got to be accountable for this. They can't just let it slide."
In order to facilitate the transfer of Tasmanians' driver's licence photos, the state government amended the Vehicle and Traffic (Driver Licensing and Vehicle Registration) Regulations, which meant legislation was not required to be brought before the parliament and debated.
Whenever Tasmanians sign a form to obtain or renew their driver's licence, they give consent for the government to upload their licence photo to the national facial recognition system. If a person doesn't consent to having their photo shared, they cannot sign their licence form and therefore are unable to obtain a licence.
The collection of people's personal data "looks like paternalistic control parading as protection", Margaret Sing, of West Hobart, said: "I think when we put conditions on something as essential as a driver's licence, that forces you to give away more of your personal data and control of your personal data and that's very worrying."
"I would like to see the government put forward proper legislation to cover the provision of our Tasmanian driver's licence photos. And I would want that to be done after the national legislation that covers it [passes]."
A State Growth Department spokesperson said there had so far been "around 20" complaints from Tasmanians regarding their inclusion in the system.
"All existing licences already have their unique code included in the system and an updated one is generated and added when new photos are taken," they said.
"[The system is] segregated and secure ... [and] uses a complex computer code to confirm an identity is not fraudulent."
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