TravelGuides – Calls to stop NSW police trial of national facial recognition system over lack of legal safeguards | Australian police and policing

JourneyGuides – Calls to stop NSW police trial of national facial recognition system over lack of legal safeguards | Australian police and policing

New South Wales police officers are testing out the federal authorities’s controversial facial recognition system to entry passport images as half of legal investigations, regardless of laws governing its use not but passing parliament.

The Australian Human Rights Commission has referred to as for a direct stop to the NSW police trial, which Guardian Australia understands has but to ship a match, till legal safeguards are in place.

State and territory police have been searching for entry to hundreds of thousands of images that they’ll then use facial recognition expertise to evaluate to nonetheless CCTV pictures and different images as half of legal investigations.

The federal authorities has been pursuing the introduction of a centralised database, referred to as “the Capability”, which might convey collectively images collected by a variety of state and federal businesses, together with police cost images, passport images, immigration paperwork, and driver’s licences from throughout the nation.

Legislation to enable the images to be shared was rejected by the federal parliament’s joint standing committee on intelligence and safety in 2019 for failing to adequately shield residents’ rights with correct safeguards. The laws has but to be reintroduced.

Despite the laws not but passing parliament, NSW police states on its website that it’s taking part in “a limited (low volume) trial” of the federal authorities’s facial matching service, accessing images held by the commonwealth.

Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania provide driver’s licence images to the system, however NSW police shouldn’t be in a position to entry these at this stage. Other states and territories additionally plan to unlock entry to their images beneath an settlement reached in 2017.

NSW police states that images from NSW driver’s licences aren’t but obtainable within the system and won’t be “until the NSW government is satisfied that appropriate privacy and security safeguards are in place”.

The federal authorities has burdened the facial identification service – the place one photograph is in contrast to many – can solely be utilized by national safety, legislation enforcement and anti-corruption businesses, and can’t be used to examine minor offences, or dwell facial recognition.

Guardian Australia understands NSW police has not but had a match recognized by means of the trial.

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The Australian Human Rights commissioner, Ed Santow, mentioned such a trial was “deeply concerning” and needs to be stopped.

“We at the Human Rights Commission find that deeply concerning. It is deeply concerning for the government – for any government – to proceed without a legal framework at all, in the absence of [the legislation] being reintroduced and passed.”

It comes simply weeks after the Australian Human Rights Commission really useful in its landmark report on synthetic intelligence and human rights that there be a ban on the use of facial recognition till there may be laws outlining what police can and can’t do, with a robust deal with defending human rights.

“The problem with proceeding without any legislative framework at all, is that you’re left with wholly inadequate protections in a very high-risk area of use, mainly policing,” Santow mentioned.

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It comes after News Corp tabloid the Daily Telegraph revealed on Saturday an interview with the pinnacle of the NSW police’s facial recognition unit, assistant commissioner Tony Crandell, who acknowledged police needed to be “as transparent as possible” about its use of the expertise, which they realise “people are not going to agree about”.

Crandell mentioned NSW police use PhotoTrac, a system that has been in place since 2004. The system has entry to greater than 1m cost images, which police can then run comparisons towards CCTV nonetheless images. One nonetheless can convey up 100 completely different potential choices, and officers want to look at each intently.

The report additionally revealed NSW police trialled the expertise on dwell CCTV footage at a gun present so as to establish folks banned from shopping for weapons, nevertheless it was determined pursuing the use of facial recognition on dwell footage was not worthwhile.

Guardian Australia requested an interview with Crandell, nevertheless it was refused by NSW police.

Samantha Floreani, this system lead at Digital Rights Watch, advised Guardian Australia if police knew the general public was not on board with facial recognition but, it shouldn’t be used till there’s a sturdy public debate and sturdy legal safeguards.

“We need more transparency around the kinds of technology – including facial recognition – that law enforcement are using, so that they can be held accountable, and so that the we can have a genuine public debate as to whether the use of these tools aligns with the kind of society we want to live in,” she mentioned. “As we saw with police use of Clearview AI, a lack of transparency of the tools the police are using or trialling erodes public trust, makes it hard to understand if the technology is being used in a fair and reasonable way, and throws accountability to the wind.”

In a press release, a spokesperson for NSW police defended the company’s use of the expertise, stating it wasn’t the one piece of proof police use.

“Traditional facial recognition technology has been used by the NSWPF since 2004 to establish and verify the identities of persons of interest for investigative purposes,” the spokesperson mentioned. “While fingerprints and DNA remain the primary biometric source for identification, facial recognition can be used to corroborate other evidence or as a lead generator.”

Guardian Australia understands the laws for the facial recognition expertise has been finalised by the house affairs division, and may quickly be reintroduced into parliament.

The division has been approached for remark.

JourneyGuides – Calls to stop NSW police trial of national facial recognition system over lack of legal safeguards | Australian police and policing