Push for facial recognition database to be up in time for GC Comm Games

UPDATE @ October 6, 6.30am: Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has vowed to try and get the national facial recognition database up and running in time for the Gold Coast’s 2018 Commonwealth Games.

At a special COAG national security meeting in Canberra on Thursday, State and Territory leaders agreed to hand over the licence details of millions of Australians, as part of a tough new security crackdown.

The state says the new system will allow our spy agencies to search for “suspects or victims of terrorist or other criminal activity” through surveillance cameras.


However, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull stressed that CCTV footage would only be analysed on request.

“It doesn’t involve mass surveillance,” Mr Turnbull said.

“It’s really taking a resource that has been accessed for years and years and making it available in a 21st-century manner,” the prime minister told reporters.

“Most Australians would assume it would be accessed in this way now but it hasn’t been.”

Ms Palaszczuk said her aim now is to get the innovative facial recognition technology up and running before the Commonwealth Games.

“I would really like to see that register up in time for the 2018 Commonwealth Games,” she told reporters.

“I know we have a commitment from all jurisdictions today to try and get that happening as quickly as possible.”

The Gold Coast’s Commonwealth Games kicks off on Wednesday 4 April 2018.

– Additional reporting by Shanee Dobeson.

EARLIER @ October 5, 2.10pm: While our Drivers licences provide an easy form of identification, they could soon be used by our spy agencies to monitor the movements of terrorists.

The Federal Government wants the states to hand over every driver’s license photo to build a national facial recognition database.

It would allow our spy agencies to search for suspects through surveillance cameras, using facial recognition technology, in real time.

The cameras would likely be installed in high traffic, high-risk areas.

Malcolm Turnbull will ask the state and territory leaders to agree to the plan at a special COAG national security meeting in Canberra on Thursday.

The Prime Minister dismissed concerns the database could be vulnerable to hacking.

“The alternative is to not use data at all,” he told a news conference on Wednesday.

“You can’t allow the risk of hacking to prevent you from doing everything you can to keep Australians safe.”