Victoria uploads data for national facial recognition system

State driver’s licence images added to NDLFRS

Credit: Dreamstime

Victoria will begin uploading driver’s licence photographs to the federal government National Driver Licence Facial Recognition Solution (NDLFRS).

The NDLFRS is operated by the federal Department of Home Affairs.

The Victorian government’s announcement today marks a significant step towards the full launch of a national Australian facial recognition system, although for now use of the images will be restricted to state agencies.

VicRoads and Victoria Police will use the system to unearth duplicate IDs and fraud, the state government said.

The government said agencies in other states and territories and federal entities will be unable to access the Victorian images until it is satisfied with federal enabling legislation for the system, which will facilitate a number of facial identification and facial verification services.

The relevant legislation is currently being examined by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS).

The Commonwealth bill outlines five identity-matching services, including face verification, face identification, the One Person One Licence Service (to identify individuals that hold multiple licences), a utility service to assess the accuracy and quality of facial data holdings, and a service for securely sharing biometric identity information between government agencies.

Although Victoria is a party to the October 2017 Council of Australian Governments agreement to establish the new system, the state government has indicated some qualms with the proposed federal legislation.

“This technology will help keep government agencies ahead of the pack when it comes to combating identity fraud, which is one of the most common and costly crimes facing our state,” Gavin Jennings, Victoria’s special minister of state, said in a statement released today.

“We are doing this as part of a national agreement, while ensuring the privacy of Victorians is not compromised.”

“This will make it harder for people to conceal their true identities and use multiple licences to avoid traffic fines, demerit points or licence cancellations,” said Victoria’s roads minister Jaala Pulford.

“This will greatly assist in removing unauthorised and dangerous drivers from our roads.”

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