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ID verification security a top priority, says Law Council of Australia

There is a sweet irony to identity verification. On the one hand, it’s a tried and tested tool that is proven effective in maintaining account security.

user icon Daniel Croft
Mon, 30 Oct 2023
ID verification security a top priority, says Law Council of Australia
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On the other hand, it requires the disclosure of significant personal details such as biometric information in the case of facial recognition and fingerprint scanning, and biographic data.

To prevent this data from being stolen and then used as a digital skeleton key to a person’s identity, there thus has to be strong and solid security measures in place.

The Law Council of Australia has presented this issue to the government, saying that identity verification security needs to be a priority.

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During a public hearing for both the Identity Verification Services (IVS) Bill 2023 and the Identity Verification Services (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2023, the council told the Senate legal and constitutional affairs committee that it backs the adoption of additional ID verification security but that the path to achieving it must be less segmented and compartmentalised.

“Identity verification services are well and truly up and running in this country,” said Law Council of Australia president-elect Greg McIntyre SC.

“In 2022–23, there were approximately 2.6 million facial verification service transactions.

“These transactions are already being used extensively by governments and are primarily governed by the Intergovernmental Agreement on Identity Matching Services.

“Therefore, we welcome the fact that these bills attempt to legislate safeguards and provide for oversight mechanisms.

“However, we remain concerned that a fragmented approach is being taken to privacy and data reform.

“The Law Council continues to call for a roadmap for the harmonisation of Australia’s privacy and data laws to ensure the development of a national privacy framework that is consistent, clear and accessible.”

McIntyre added that while the measures that the bills introduce fixes for gaps in current legislation, the bills also rely on compliances with the Commonwealth Privacy Act, which is currently under review, as well as state and territory equivalents.

“The ongoing review of the Privacy Act has demonstrated there are deficiencies in the current framework, and until they are addressed, participants in the identity verification process should be held to a higher standard of compliance,” he said.

“We have also recommended that the bill could be stronger in requiring the Information Commission to conduct an annual assessment of the regime; and that with increasing reliance on facial recognition technology, lawfulness and compliance with human rights in this field must be addressed for those that are not within the scope of these bills.”

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