5 October 2017
Rene Hidding, Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management
National bio-facial fraud prevention initiative
The government is committed to keeping all Tasmanians safe from fraud and identity theft.
Today we have signed up to a new nation-wide biometric facial (bio-facial) recognition and matching system using drivers licence photos to enhance identity protection.
Identity fraud is one of the fastest growing criminal activities we face in Australia, and indeed world-wide.
This new system will make it more difficult for criminals to steal someone else’s identity.
The fact is identity theft costs Australia in excess of $2.2 billion annually with 1 in 20 Australians hit by this crime each year. It is a devastating and deeply personal invasion of peoples’ lives, finances and families.
Importantly, more than 85 per cent of all Australian adults have a drivers licence and it is the primary photo identity document used in the community.
This system will use similar facial biometric technology as used to validate passport images when you leave and return to the country. This means we can, in real-time, validate drivers licence images in addition to those captured with passports and visas.
In terms of privacy, there are robust access provisions in place as to who, how and why an individual’s images may be checked to confirm identity, and there are safeguards in place to protect personal information from misuse.
The system has been developed through stringent independent privacy assessments and has involved consultation with privacy commissioners, ombudsmen and Tasmanian Police.
Importantly, there will be no change in having your photo taken for your licence, and it will still be saved and stored in the same way.
This is an important move to help prevent innocent individuals and businesses in Tasmania becoming the victims of identity fraud through organised crime or becoming unwittingly used in breaches of national security.
The new system will come online in Tasmania in 2018 with more information provided prior to commencement.
For more information go to www.ag.gov.au/identitysecurity