12 Aug 2015
CHILDREN who fight with extremist groups could be prevented from returning to Australia under plans to expand powers to gather biometric data.
THE Senate has passed legislation to beef up the country’s biometrics system, permitting the collection of data from children as young as 10 without parental consent.
Fingerprints, and potentially iris scans and facial images, will be used to match people entering and leaving Australia to a database of known criminals and suspected terrorists. It will allow the government to identify minors flagged by other countries as involved in terrorist activity or serious crime, and better detect children who have been abducted or smuggled. Children of radicalised parents could be subjected to the expanded collection system. The government says while the best interests of a child are a primary consideration, this can be outweighed by concerns such as protecting Australians.
The bill also enables mobile fingerprint checks at airports, which the government believes is vital to keep pace with technological advancements.
Data taken from adults will not be stored after it is checked against a database and a child’s data will be discarded once they turn 18. The system is also designed to resolve the asylum seeker caseload. The government says powers to catch rejected asylum seekers re-entering the country under fake identities need to be modernised to keep up with technological improvements. But a parliamentary human rights committee found collecting fingerprints and facial data from children could be an abuse of their rights. Assistant Immigration Minister Michaelia Cash amended the legislation to explicitly prevent biometrics data being taken from a person in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way. The bill passed without a vote and will have to go back to the House of Representatives for final approval.
WHAT THE BILL WILL DO:
* Allow live scans of fingerprints on a hand-held device at airports, seaports
* Streamline seven biometric collection powers into a broad discretionary power
* Provide flexibility on types of biometric data, and circumstances and places where it can be collected
* Not introduce a universal biometrics collection policy.
Blog Editor’s Comment:
Freedom is so overrated