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  • Ziggi Murphy

1984 was a warning not a manual.

Updated: Sep 29, 2022

Last year the government brought forward a bill called the Identity-matching Bill 2018. Although it is not currently proceeding. It has huge implications for us.

Are you scared yet?

Does every move we make have to be watched?

Should governments be allowed to track our movements?

Are you aware that the city of Darwin is going ‘smarter’ and is adapting elements of the Chinese social credit system for use in Australia?

There is the potential of ‘smart’ Darwin being able to gather data on citizens when they use public services, such as Wi-Fi. The ability for the council to profit from the sale of user data to the private sector is quite possible. With the Northern Territory government budget earmarked at $1.4 million for expanding the local CCTV network it has the potential to continue to roll out biometric facial recognition software, which can link your face from a live CCTV image to your driver licence or passport and identifying data on your smartphone remotely without your knowledge.

Are you scared yet?

They say it’s all about preventing crime and protecting us however the Chinese credit system is all about earning or removing points based on behaviour. Many people have been blacklisted by the Chinese government and many more have been, labelled as “not qualified” to book flights or high-speed train tickets. The Chinese system’s monitoring of citizens’ behaviour has been widely condemned as “Orwellian”.

We are becoming uncannily too much like 1984, which was a fictional book not a manual for the future.

They ‘protected us’ when they rushed the Encryption Act through federal parliament in December 2018, this allows law enforcement and intelligence agencies unprecedented access to communications technology. Did you know telecommunications providers must now provide your private data when requested? They must also, by law, conceal that they have done so from customers/citizens. Our rights to privacy are being eroded.

If you think Darwin is the unlucky one, think again, Perth is also going to roll out a watch system. People in the CBD and near Optus Stadium could have their faces scanned by high-tech facial recognition cameras. The City of Perth has confirmed the cutting-edge technology had been installed but is awaiting commissioning. It looks like the City of Perth will be the only authority in WA to use facial recognition technology, along with the Airport. East Perth including near the Matagarup Bridge leading to Optus Stadium, will be the roll out of the trial, however if it is successful it could be implemented across the city’s vast network of 485 CCTV cameras. The city’s new fleet of 30 so-called “smart” CCTV cameras would have facial recognition capabilities, although only 3 would be used in the trial at any one time.

It has been said that the facial scanning software would only be used at the request of a legal authority such as WA Police to help identify people, including those missing, wanted, entering an area or those who leave baggage behind. They say footage will be lost after 31 days.

Could this be the start of the Chinese social system? Maybe not, but it has serious implications for our civil and human rights. Should the government be able to track your every move when you walk down the street, join a protest, or enter your doctor’s office? Should the majority have their privacy removed because of a few who behave criminally?

Are you scared yet?

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