digital ID Bill, facial recognition
by Rocco Loiacono | Sky New AU

As I wrote for in December, the Albanese Government late last year introduced its ‘Digital ID Bill 2023’, which creates a framework for a permanent “digital identity” for all Australians.

The ID system will bundle together a person’s driver’s licence, Medicare card, passport details, Centrelink details and other credentials.

This is being sold to us as making our lives easier.

At the same time, we are being told that this system will be voluntary.

Just before parliament rose for Christmas a Senate Economics Legislation Committee inquiry into the Digital ID Bill was established.

With its usual commitment to transparency and due process, the government allowed just one month for submissions from the public, the cut-off date being January 19.

The committee’s report was published recently. Of course, the government-dominated panel recommended passing the bill.

However, it received numerous submissions challenging the claims by the government that there is “nothing to see here” in relation to the bill, which the government intends to bring to a vote when parliament resumes on March 18.

These submissions warned of a future where access to services and goods could be contingent on having a digital ID, raising ethical, privacy, and societal implications.

All three organisations underlined that labelling the digital ID as “voluntary” can be misleading if it becomes an implicit requirement for essential services.

In fact, the bill provides for a government agency to be set up and authorised to approve requests that make it mandatory for certain services, “if the digital ID regulator is satisfied that it is appropriate to do so”.

Hardly the most reassuring statement.

As Senators Matt Canavan and Gerard Rennick pointed out in their report on the bill, “there is no limitation on the agency’s powers but the vague and open-ended requirement for a mandatory requirement to be ‘appropriate to do so’”.

A large number of submissions emphasized risks with centralizing and digitizing personal information, such as insufficient protections for sensitive data, making it a very appetizing target for hackers and Australia’s enemies to launch cyber-attacks. Read Full Article >

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