Home Affairs pushes its face-matching service for porn age verification

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The Department of Home Affairs is hoping to use its Face Verification Service and Document Verification Service across the economy, and is backing its use for age verification for Australians to look at pornography.

Writing in a submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs’ inquiry, launched in September, Home Affairs said it could provide a “suite of identity-matching services”.

One example highlighted by the department was the use of the Face Verification Service to prevent a child using their parent’s driver licence to get around any age verification.

“Whilst they are primarily designed to prevent identity crime, Home Affairs would support the increased use of the Document and Face Verification Services across the Australian economy to strengthen age verification processes,” the department wrote.

Home Affairs conceded the Face Verification Service was not operational, as it relied on the passage of biometric legislation through Parliament.

Last week, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security said the Bills did not have sufficient privacy safeguards and needed to be redrafted.

Addressing the House of Representatives on Thursday, Committee Chair Andrew Hastie said throughout its review, the committee heard concerns over the need to ensure that appropriate governance and accountability were in place, and protection of the individual’s right to privacy was at the forefront.

“The committee acknowledges these concerns and believes that while the Bill’s explanatory memorandum sets out governance arrangements, such as existing and contemplated agreements and access policies, they are not adequately set out in the current Bill,” he said.

“In the committee’s view, robust safeguards and appropriate oversight mechanisms should be explained clearly in the legislation.”

He said that although the committee expresses broad support for the objectives of the Bill, it agrees with many of the submissions it received that the Bill as it stands does not adequately incorporate enough detail.

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