A NEW controversial system may soon see welfare recipients required to have their face scanned and analysed before they can access their payments.
The system, which will also affect people trying access Medicare and childcare subsidies, age pension and pay tax online, is part of a new biometric security program that is set to begin in October.
Under the new strategy those trying to access these government services will be required to take photo to create a myGov ID, which will then be checked against driver’s licences and passports to confirm their identity.
Human Services Minister Michael Keenan has hopes the plan will see Australia become a world leader in “digital government” by 2025.
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When fully rolled out the digital identity solution will allow users access to almost any government agency through one single portal, with the trial allowing 100,000 people to apply for a Tax File number online.
Currently applicants have to fill in a form online, print it out and take it to the post office so their identification can be verified.
But the introduction of the new system is causing some concern over the privacy of those taking part.
IT security expert Troy Hunt, who runs the website haveibeenpwned.com, told news.com.au that a biometric system — like the one proposed — wasn’t without its faults.
“One of the problems is we want to be able to access things in a secure fashion but passwords aren’t really great for doing that because a lot of us tend to use the same one for everything,” he said.
“Biometrics can be better in this aspect but on the flip side it is information that can’t really be changed if there is a security breach.”
Mr Hunt said that once a database is built up of this biometric data then there was the possibility it could be used for reasons other than it’s intended purpose. For example having a scan of people’s faces on file could make it easier to identify or track people through security camera.
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