Australia to Use Facial Recognition to Restrict Porn, Online Gambling

  • Australia’s Department of Home Affairs proposes invasive facial recognition policing of who accesses online gambling and pornography
  • No specific measures announeced as of this moment as privacy concerns continue
  • The UK already works on clinics designed to help underage gambling addicts as well as an identification system to prevent minors from accessing pronography

Australia will debate whether facial recognition software should be used to allow the government to check on who’s accessing pornographic materials online or gambling.

Australian Lawmakers to Use Facial Recognition to Limit Pornography and Online Gambling

The Australian Government is now debating the use of facial recognition to limit the access of underage individuals to online gambling and pornographic materials. As per current laws, minors may watch adult movies legally, but the federal government is now debating to radically change the legislation.

Specifically, the Department of Home Affairs has said that it would conduct identification checks that would match faces to an official government-issued document. However, the discussions failed to specify how these documents and facial scans would be obtained in the first place.

Senator Rex Patrick was among the critics to oppose the measure as it violated citizens privacy. Here’s what Sen. Patrick said:

I think people should be very concerned about any government department that’s seeking to store this kind of information.

The debate about the use of facial recognition solutions to ensure minors and underage individuals’ safety has been raging all over the world. China has successfully used the technology to identify wanted individuals, and a British court has recently agreed that the use of facial recognition by police force did not violate basic human rights.

At the present moment, facial recognition for the purposes of clamping down on underage gambling and viewing explicit materials remains purely conjectural as the Australian Parliament has not yet decided whether to push with these stricter – and arguably more invasive measures.

Facial Recognition Not New in Australia

Australia first introduced its own Face Verification Service (FVS) back in 2016, designed to assist the federal police to vet candidates seeking resident permits in the country. Having been leveraged with a wide margin of success, the Department of Home Affairs is now considering applying the facial verification software to check up on anyone who wants to gamble online or watch pornographic materials.

The main objective is to prevent attempts from underage individuals – and minors specifically – of accessing harmful materials.

Privacy and Private Companies

In the past several years, the debate about facial recognition and how FVS can be used has risen some justified concerns. For example, the Department of Home Affairs has suggested that the system may be accessible to private sector companies, other than government agencies.

Online identity fraud laws have given freer reign to target suspects of such activity – without their consent. However, opposition has been strong with multiple draft bills repealed after inability to agree-upon privacy.

Meanwhile, Australia continues to be one of the hot spots for online pornography. PornHub, a popular adult content website, has reported that Australians made the eight highest number of visits in 2016.

Monitoring underage individuals by imposing technologically advanced solutions isn’t new. Tencent, a Chinese tech giant, has restricted minors screen time by using similar facial recognition software. However, kids have proven smarter.

As to the United Kingdom, one of the world’s largest markets presently, the government recently tried to introduce a nationwide verification system that would require individuals to enter information bout themselves to access explicit materials on the Internet.

The UK has already taken measures to help minors and underage individuals who may have become the victim of gambling. Estimated 55,000 children in the UK are classed as having a gambling problem, The Guardian recently reported. As a result, the National Health System (NHS) is already operating a clinic to help it tackle underage gambling as well address the problem nationwide.

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