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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

CHOICE backs new law to rein in use of facial recognition technology

Consumer advocate CHOICE has endorsed a proposed new law that would regulate facial recognition and protect consumers from harms caused by the controversial technology. 

CHOICE says the law, developed by the Human Technology Institute at UTS, would address the gaps in Australian privacy legislation that fail to cover the particular risks caused by this technology.

“In June, CHOICE revealed that Kmart, Bunnings, and The Good Guys were using facial recognition technology in their stores,” says CHOICE consumer data advocate Kate Bower.

“The Australian community was shocked and angered by the use of facial recognition in retail settings. We know that people are really concerned about facial recognition being used in this way.”

A nationally representative survey conducted by CHOICE between March and April this year found that three in four Australians agreed regulation is needed to protect consumers from harms caused by facial recognition use in retail settings.

“Australia’s privacy law is struggling to keep up with the ever evolving uses of facial recognition technology. We need a specific, fit-for-purpose law to protect consumers from the harms that can occur without proper and clear regulation,” says Ms Bower. 

“A dedicated facial recognition technology law, like the one that’s been proposed by the Human Technology Institute, would make it clear exactly what is and isn’t allowed when businesses want to use this controversial technology.” 

The proposed new law would classify the use of facial recognition technology in retail settings as high risk and prohibit it unless exemptions were granted by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).

“The use of facial recognition technology will only continue to grow, so we need to regulate it now to prevent further harm to consumers. This is an opportunity for the federal government to implement an innovative, sorely needed piece of legislation to protect the safety and privacy of Australians,” says Ms Bower. 

You can find the report about the proposed new law here: uts.edu.au/human-technology-institute/explore-our-work/facial-recognition-technology-towards-model-law

Sign the petition to rein in facial recognition: choice.com.au/facialrecognitionpetition

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