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Facial Recognition Data Collection Continuing Under Hodgman Liberals Without Consent

Media Release - Wednesday, 4 December 2019, Cassy O'Connor MP


Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader

Under questioning in GBEs today, State Growth Minister, Michael Ferguson, admitted the Liberals continue to collect facial recognition data and send it to a national database - despite the fact there is no federal legislative framework in place to support this process. 

The Minister dismissed the concerns of Tasmanians about the misuse of their personal information and biometric data.

Mr Ferguson flicked off questions from legal experts as “reckless fear mongering” and claimed the process of sending facial recognition information to a national database was for the “greater public good”.

This type of language has a storied history of justifying authoritarian agendas. The fact it is being used in Tasmania today provides further evidence of the Liberals’ surveillance state ambitions.

The Liberals are clearly more interested in marching Tasmania towards a surveillance state than they are in addressing the issues impacting people across the community every day.

Most Tasmanians would be shocked to learn their biometric data is being collected and distributed. And even if someone applying for a driver’s license is aware of this process, they have no choice but to swallow their concerns if they wish to have their application processed.

The process of collecting and nationalising facial recognition data erodes Tasmanians’ right to privacy, it goes against the spirit of the Personal Information Protection Act (2004), it has no basis in federal legislation, and it has already been heavily criticized by legal experts.

The Hodgman Government’s draconian anti-protest laws have rightly been in the spotlight, but this isn’t the only symptom of their increasingly authoritarian agenda. The Liberals also stealthily pushed through regulations that seriously erode Tasmanians’ right to privacy and control over their biometric data.

Tasmanians’ right to privacy is being steadily and stealthily watered down by the Liberals.

The Greens will seek to change the relevant legislation to put an end to this disturbing process in Parliament next year. We will always defend the basic human rights of all Tasmanians.