Victoria will begin uploading driver's licence photographs to the federal government National Driver Licence Facial Recognition Solution (NDLFRS) which will be operated by the federal Department of Home Affairs. The NDLFRS will protect Victorians from identify theft, prevent crime and improve road safety and ID verification according to the Victorian Government.
The Victorian data uploaded to the NDLFRS technology will be available to approved Victorian Government agencies for use. Under an Intergovernmental Agreement, the states and territories agreed in October 2017 to participate in the Commonwealth Government's NDLFRS to share and match identity information - although none have yet signed onto the scheme in full. The NDLFRS is hosted on a Department of Home Affairs platform. It is part of the Commonwealth Government's national Face Matching Services. The NDLFRS cannot be used for mass surveillance.
Once implemented, approved Victorian Government agencies can use advanced face matching technology to review specific photographs. The system identifies distinctive facial characteristics, which can then be compared against driver licence images. This technology is already in use in Australia for passport and immigration purposes.
Victoria will join the NDLFRS in two stages:
This stage is currently underway and includes the upload of the following driver licence information:
- date of birth
- licence number
Traffic infringement or demerit points will not be uploaded. Once data is uploaded there will be a 3-month testing and checking phase. Consent to share personal data has already been provided by Victorian driver licence applicants and holders at the time of application and renewal, by agreeing to the VicRoads Privacy Statement and Collection Notice. It is not possible to 'opt-out' of the NDLFRS.
- VicRoads and the Department of Premier and Cabinet will review applications from Victorian Government agencies, such as Victoria Police, who may need access to driver licence data.
- Approved agencies will sign a Participation Agreement with the Department of Home Affairs and VicRoads before they can access Victorian data.
- Prior to Stage 2 the existing arrangements to share driver licence data between VicRoads and Victoria Police will remain.
Victorian driver licence data will be stored in a secure system. The security of this system offers advanced facial recognition technology.
The Victorian government's announcement is a significant step towards the full launch of a national Australian facial recognition system, although for now use of the images will be restricted to state agencies.
Source: Victorian Government
Top image: Aussie-Driver