Victoria uploads data for national facial recognition system


Victoria will begin uploading driver’s licence photographs to the federal government National Driver Licence Facial Recognition Solution (NDLFRS).

The NDLFRS is operated by the federal Department of Home Affairs.

The Victorian government’s announcement today marks 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.

VicRoads and Victoria Police will use the system to unearth duplicate IDs and fraud, the state government said.

The government said agencies in other states and territories and federal entities will be unable to access the Victorian images until it is satisfied with federal enabling legislation for the system, which will facilitate a number of facial identification and facial verification services.

The relevant legislation is currently being examined by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS).

The Commonwealth bill outlines five identity-matching services, including face verification, face identification, the One Person One Licence Service (to identify individuals that hold multiple licences), a utility service to assess the accuracy and quality of facial data holdings, and a service for securely sharing biometric identity information between government agencies.

Although Victoria is a party to the October 2017 Council of Australian Governments agreement to establish the new system, the state government has indicated some qualms with the proposed federal legislation.

“This technology will help keep government agencies ahead of the pack when it comes to combating identity fraud, which is one of the most common and costly crimes facing our state,” Gavin Jennings, Victoria’s special minister of state, said in a statement released today.

“We are doing this as part of a national agreement, while ensuring the privacy of Victorians is not compromised.”

“This will make it harder for people to conceal their true identities and use multiple licences to avoid traffic fines, demerit points or licence cancellations,” said Victoria’s roads minister Jaala Pulford.

“This will greatly assist in removing unauthorised and dangerous drivers from our roads.”

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Tags privacybiometricsfacial recognitionThe Capability




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Facebook brings face recognition to all users, discontinues ‘Tag Suggestions’


Facebook is opening up its face recognition technology to all users with an option to opt out, the social media company said on Tuesday, as it discontinued a related feature called “Tag Suggestions.”

The old feature enabled users to choose whether Facebook could suggest that their friends tag them in photos, without giving them control over other uses of the technology.

The face recognition setting, available to some Facebook users since December 2017, has additional functions such as notifying account holders if their profile photo is used by someone else.

People who opt in to the new setting will still have tag suggestions automatically generated about them.

Facebook’s face recognition technology has been at the center of a privacy related lawsuit since 2015.




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Facebook brings face recognition to all users, discontinues ‘Tag Suggestions’ – Benchmarking Change – Security


Facebook Inc said on Tuesday its face recognition technology will now be available to all users with an option to opt out, while deciding to discontinue a related feature called ‘Tag Suggestions’.

Face recognition, which was available to some Facebook users since December 2017, notifies an account holder if their profile photo is used by someone else or if they appear in photos where they have not been tagged.

Tag Suggestions, which used face recognition only to suggest a user to tag friends in photos, has been at the center of a privacy related lawsuit since 2015.

The lawsuit by Illinois users accused the social media company of violating the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act, claiming it illegally collected and stored biometric data of millions of users without their consent.

Last month, a federal appeals court rejected Facebook’s effort to undo the class action status of the lawsuit.

“We have always disclosed our use of face recognition technology and that people can turn it on or off at any time,” Facebook said last month.

The company said it continues to engage with privacy experts, academics, regulators and its users on how it uses face recognition and the options users have to control it.


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How Mozilla is crowdsourcing speech to diversify voice recognition


The immediate future of human-machine interaction lies in voice control, what with smart speakers, home appliances, and phones listening for commands to do our bidding.

But voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri represent their overwhelmingly white, male developers leading to gender and racial bias. For example, if you have an accent, or your native language is something other than English, chances are you won’t get what you’re asking for.

To solve this, Mozilla, a free software community, created “Common Voice” in 2017, a tool that crowdsources voices as a dataset to diversify AI and represent the global population, not just the west.