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The elevated global terrorist threat as perceived by the authorities in various states has resulted in the enhancement of countering measures and legislation procedures. In Australia, potential terrorists and victims of terrorism will be identified in real time through facial recognition after the federal and state governments agreed to use new technology that will give security agencies instant access to data from photographs and drivers’ licences.
The facial biometric technology will be available to authorities for “criminal activity” outside terrorism and to prevent fake or stolen identities.
According to theaustralian.com, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull insisted there would not be mass surveillance around the country. Parties other than law enforcement authorities will be given access to the data if they receive legal approval.
Following unanimous agreement on a suite of measures at the special counter-terrorism meeting of the Council of Australian Governments, Turnbull said establishing a “national facial biometric matching capability” would help ensure local, federal and state governments receive the “best advice to keep people safe”.
“This is not accessing information, photo ID information that is not currently available. We are talking about bringing together essentially federal government photo IDs, passports, visas and so forth, together with drivers’ licences,” the Prime Minister said.
“These are all available to law enforcement agencies now and have been for many years, if not for generations. What we have not been doing is accessing them in a modern 21st century way. It shouldn’t take seven days to be able to verify someone’s identity or seek to match a photograph of somebody that is a person of interest. It should be able to be done seamlessly in real time.”
Meanwhile, France has taken anti-terror legislation to the next level. Its lower house of parliament has approved a new anti-terrorism law intended to bring an end to a nearly two-year-long state of emergency. The law will incorporate several measures first authorised under the emergency arrangement. They include easier searches of homes and confining individuals to their hometowns, without judicial approval, according to international news agencies.