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Ferguson Must Come Clean on Facial Recognition

Media Release - Tuesday, 10 December 2019


Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader

On Human Rights Day, the Greens call on the Hodgman Government to recognise and respect Tasmanians' fundamental rights and freedoms.

The Tasmanian Government has transferred 410 000 photographs of Tasmanians to a facial recognition database in Canberra without their consent, and is potentially in breach of both federal and state legislation.

Tasmanians have not given permission for their sensitive information to be used in this way, and they are rightly angry. Legal experts have also raised significant questions about the legality of this process.

Under the federal Privacy Act 1988, our biometric information is ‘sensitive information’, requiring organisations or agencies collecting it to first ask for consent, and also to make sure it has a high level of privacy protection.

Minister Ferguson needs to come clean on whether or not his agency is breaching federal or state law.

In addition to the legality of the data transfer, it is important to recognise the potential human rights violation. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed 71 years ago today, clearly states that privacy is a fundamental right.

Every Tasmanian should have the right to privacy. That means having a say over what happens to their biometric information.

The Liberals have clearly infringed on this right, and breached the trust of the community.

Minister Ferguson must recognise Tasmanians’ right to privacy, and immediately cease sending our sensitive information to Canberra. He should also order that all Tasmanian data already sent to the national facial recognition database be destroyed.