AUSTRALIA has rejected a bid by the US to ban the use of facial recognition technology on passports in the wake of a terror attack on the World Trade Center in New York.
The United States’ threat of banning facial recognition and other biometric passport technology has caused concern among other countries around the world and led to widespread calls for a review of the laws.
But a spokesperson for Australia’s immigration department told the ABC that the use or sale of biometric passports was “not a new phenomenon” and that “the United States has made clear that it will not be making any changes to its current laws relating to biometric and face recognition passports”.
Mr Rudd said the US would not be allowed to ban facial recognition.
“As the US will not make any changes in its existing biometric identification laws, Australia will continue to be able to maintain its current biometric system,” he said.
“Australians are not afraid of our facial recognition cameras, they are not scared of biometrically recorded images, and they do not fear the use and sale of facial capture devices.”
“We have an obligation to our fellow citizens that we not discriminate against them on the basis of their ethnicity, national origin, religion or sexual orientation.”
But the Australian Government has previously defended its position.
In January this year, Mr Rudd said: “It’s not about the technology, it’s about our identity and it’s really important to remember that we are not going to make any significant changes to our laws until we have a full and open debate.”
“It’s really not about facial recognition, it is about the way we are going to be integrated into the 21st century and the way in which we will have to live together as a nation, not against each other.”‘
We will continue with biometrists’In the wake on Friday’s attack on New York, there was also a renewed call for a rethink of Australia’s biometric laws.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the attacks were a warning for the world.
“We are now seeing the worst attack on Australia since World War Two,” he told Sky News.
“The Australian Government is now trying to introduce biometric measures that we can’t even use in public.”
“The threat is growing, it will continue in the coming weeks and months and we will continue as biometrist-led governments in Australia, to continue to do what we have been doing for years and years.”