Victorian police and councils have been quietly installing facial recognition systems into their CCTV networks.
The move follows the city of Perth which has also integrated the technology with its community watch but had at least announced its intention to do so. Victoria has introduced the facial recognition gear across its 138 surveillance cameras without a peep to or consent from the very public that it plans to spy on 24/7.
Likewise, the Gold Coast and Hobart are investigating the use of this technology which can pick out a face in a crowd and link them to a database, The Australian reports.
As it stands, the Perth and Victorian systems have yet to be linked to a database. Police must first issue an image of a suspect to the council to check against its recognition capabilities. However, it’s only a matter of time until everyone who passes by the cities’ cameras has their profiles matched against their data records.
Such a move brings these Australian cities into line with China and London, which are unequivocal police states. The excuse for London is to help combat terror risks. But in China, it’s an outright spy tool used by a government that wants to X-ray its citizens’ organs, to match for sale to wealthy business people.
Of Perth’s 470-strong camera network only three CCTV cameras can be used at any given time in its limited trial.
Sven Bluemmel, the Victorian Information Commissioner is unapologetic about the science. He claims is a “very good reason” to target its citizens with facial recognition technology. Yet, he concedes that going about it in such a slimy way by not telling anyone “is likely to have a significant impact on individuals, and could be perceived as privacy intrusive.”
Lyndsey Jackson, chairwoman of Electronic Frontiers Australia, was much more direct. She said that Australia has “very little regulation” around the use of facial recognition technology. Ms Jackson raised concerns that biometric data may be hacked.
“We’re unleashing something really difficult to pull back from,” she told The Australian. “There’s a critical problem with the storage of biometric data and what happens with those big breaches. You can change your PIN number but you can’t change your face.”
While these experts are always concerned about being “hacked”, Australians should be more worried about them being used correctly, or rather, as intended.
Police and government would have unfettered powers when it comes to targeting dissident citizens, which is how China uses this technology. It is not unreasonable for political dissidents such as Australian nationalists to be concerned about being tracked. The Australian government and its state agencies already monitor groups and individuals they categorise as extremists.
Currently, in England, the first steps are being taken to outlaw any group that it deems to be spreading intolerance and antipathy towards those of a different race, gender, religion or nationality.
This is, of course, an absurd catchall that means by criticising a contestant on the Eurovision Song Contest one might be guilty of crossing a prohibited line.
But it’s also a way of silencing the “non-violent” far-right groups currently operating in England, such as Britain First, the British National Party, For Britain, and Generation Identity England.
The thinktank says that the messages and themes found in this group which are actually the legitimate concerns of the British people, such as a “conspiracy theory” surrounding the idea that White people are being replaced in Europe, echo those of Norwegian mass-shooter Anders Breivik.
This logic dictates that any group propagating such ideas is potentially feeding into the mind of a dangerous radical who will go out and kill people. On this basis, The Beatles’ White album would also have been prohibited.
Of course, having an institute named after the man who singlehandedly turned the ethnic composition of England into a future majority non-White is ominous on its own.
A former adviser to Tony Blair admitted that the startling increase in migrants in England over the past decades was due to an agenda to radically change England’s racial makeup and “rub the right’s nose in diversity”.
A sober judge would consider this high treason and there is only one way to punish that.