A Bill to set up the federal government’s biometric identity system is currently going through Parliament. But there are concerns over just how much information the system would be allowed to gather, and how that might be used to establish more than just the identity of a person.
Strongly based on the FBI model in the United States, the Identity Matching Services Billand its Explanatory Memoranda prescribe what data can be collected, shared and processed, by who and for what purposes.
The Bill is based on the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreement, signed in October 2017.
The public purpose of the system is to provide identity-matching services to government agencies and some private entities (such as banks and telcos). But the Bill will also establish the Department of Home Affairs as an incredibly data-rich law-enforcement and security agency, with a wide remit for data collection and use.