Anti – terrorism has been a topic of controversy ever since the exposing of the PRISM network by whistle blower Edward Snowden. The misuse of government funded technology and bureaucratic negligence has led to some of the most invasive security strategies this world has ever known. PRISM was a system used to monitor the entire population of the USA through the use of meta data. However it is Australia’s latest proposal at the Council of Australian Governments meeting today (COAG) that takes anti – terrorism laws to a whole new level.
Thanks to nines political reporter Chris Uhlmann, it was revealed on Tuesday that the topic discussed at the counter – terrorism summit would be the decision to “push premiers to hand over the pictures of every licensed driver in their state so federal agencies can build a national facial recognition data base.”
It was also confirmed on Wednesday morning that the technology, in an effort to tackle terrorism, would be used in public places, or places of mass gathering. This would include places such as shopping malls and airports.
That’s right, CCTV almost everywhere would have the ability of facial recognition thanks tot hat little plastic card in your wallet. Real – time tracking of nearly every Australian… It’s not all doom and gloom for everyone, channel nine host Sonia Kruger championed the idea this morning saying, “Who should be against it is people who are doing something wrong,” said Kruger. “If you have done nothing wrong, [there’s] nothing to be worried about. I don’t know why you are concerned.
“There are CCTV cameras everywhere in London, just about every street corner.”
This would have to be some of the worst logic ever spewed on national television, the idea that because one had nothing to hide, the right to privacy should therefore be forfeited? News flash we as humans have secrets, freedoms, rights and things that we for whatever reason wish to remain private. What about the journalist who had his metadata retrieved by Australian federal police in an effort to find his anonymous and brave source? Did he deserve the right to privacy?
The system records things like the distance between your eyes, bone structure, how thick your lips are, what shape your nose is, how big your eyes are and – depending on how detailed they are going – can include retina scans.
An excellent point that was raised by Pauls Smith of the AFR was the fact that if this becomes law, we will be trusting the centralising of this data not only to the federal government of today, but also that of tomorrow. Meaning once implemented no matter who the future government is they will have access to this technology, and free societies do have the tendency to drift towards authoritarian futures, history will agree with me on that one. Our passivity could lead to the use of this technology to keep EVERYONE under surveillance, restrictions on movements, and disturbance of public gatherings the government of the day deems disruptive.
So before you rejoice at the concept of nation – wide facial recognition remember what it means to live in a free society, remember the dangers of this data falling in the wrong hands, and think about the future when we may have potentially authoritarian leaning regimes.
Making policy on the heels of horror is rarely wise…
The Loud Libertarian