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Australia is looking to make it harder for minors to gamble and watch pornography online.
The Department of Home Affairs has proposed a system of facial recognition to deter minors from viewing sexual content and gambling. Details on how it would work are sparse, but photos of the person's face would hypothetically be checked against official documents to determine the viewer's age. Vice reports that the Australian House of Representatives put out a call for submissions in the hopes of finding a feasible way of verifying people's ages online. The Department of Home Affairs went ahead a submitted a proposal.
"Home Affairs is developing a Face Verification Service which matches a person’s photo against images used on one of their evidence of identity documents to help verify their identity," the government agency said. "This could assist in age verification, for example by preventing a minor from using their parent’s driver license to circumvent age verification controls." They go on to say that the "Face Verification Service is not yet fully operational."
Unsurprisingly, the idea of scanning people's faces to access pornography has been met resistance. "My fear would be people’s privacy," Rachel Payne, general manager at the Eros Association, told BuzzFeed News. "What information could be captured by hacking someone’s records? The Department of Home Affairs would argue there’s no possibility. But our census has been hacked before, so who knows what could happen."
The move was also proposed in the U.K. earlier this year, but due to to pressure from privacy advocates the move was put on indefinite hold by the government.