Adelaide suspends police access to facial recognition technology

South Australian (SA) police will not be granted access to facial recognition services built into the new $ 3 million surveillance system due to concerns about indiscriminate use and lack of regulation.

The federal-funded system also features object and license plate awareness to cover the city of Adelaide after the abolition of existing dilapidated infrastructure. The rollout will be completed within the next 18 months.

Council members have motioned to block access to the SA Police (SAPOL), which allows access to the facial recognition components of surveillance networks only after state and federal law addresses key ethical and privacy concerns. It was passed on November 9th.

“What we are facing is the outlook for these cameras throughout the city of Adelaide.” Said Councilor Philippe Martin Council Session. “But because we do, there is no law. [and] The South Australian House of Assembly does not consider such legislation. “

Epoch Times Photo
Police officer at M Suites in North Adelaide, Australia, January 28, 2021. Tennis players and support have been quarantined for 14 days after arriving in Melbourne on an international flight prior to the 2021 Australian Open and lead-in event. (Photo by Kelly Burns / Getty Images)

Councilor Alexander Hyde explained that the deployment of facial recognition surveillance in Australia is still in its infancy and needs to be considered carefully.

“We are at an important point in human history,” Hyde said. “And we need to be very careful that our minds, and the technologies that we have come up with, do not compete far beyond our minds, ethics and morals.”

When the provincial government adopted the recommendations set by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), this motion allowed the use of technology in the jurisdiction.

In particular, AHRC’s Final Report on Human Rights and Technology 2021 (pdf) A new law, announced in early May, recommended that human rights be at the forefront and be aware of the shortcomings that may be caused by facial recognition and other biometric technologies.

The report highlighted the threat of privacy, along with the possibility of racial prejudice that could further increase injustice and human rights abuses.

“Australian law needs to provide stronger, clearer and more targeted human rights protection for the development and use of biometric technologies, including facial recognition,” the report said. “Until these protections are implemented, the Commission recommends a moratorium on the use of biometric techniques, including facial recognition in high-risk areas.”

However, Martin also raised concerns about how and should facial recognition surveillance be applied to monitor the activities of citizens.

“There is no objection to the use of such technology, especially in the situations shown in other countries,” Martin said. “Preventing serious crimes, including acts of terrorism, is very effective.”

However, Martin points out the recommendations outlined by the Australian Law Council (LCA) in 2018, suggesting that a line needs to be drawn between what may be considered appropriate and improper use. Did.

“If the line can use this open system to detect Jay Walkers and debris and sneak up towards a wide range of social surveillance, such as fines, then the line becomes a complete social credit style system. You can even sneak up. Government oversight of Australian citizens “LCA Said..

Western Australia is currently placing orders for home quarantine using facial recognition and geolocation technology in a mobile app, and is being tested in South Australia, New South Wales, and Victoria.

The state has praised these applications as streamlining the quarantine process, replacing regular police visits with mobile apps that send photo requests to users to make sure they’re at home. Has been done.

Daniel Kumerev


Daniel Khmelev is a Perth-based Australian reporter working on energy, technology and politics. He has a background in mathematics, physics and computer science. Contact him at [email protected]