MEDIA RELEASE: Big Brother Arrives By Public Transport

Are you going to kiss goodbye to your privacy every time you use a bus, train, or City Cat in Brisbane?

The Australian Privacy Foundation, the nation’s civil society organisation concerned with privacy, today strongly condemned proposals for biometric scanning of people using public transport in Brisbane.

Foundation spokesperson Dr Monique Mann said “comprehensive scanning will not work. It is not necessary. It is contrary to the right to privacy expected by all Australians”.

The Foundation notes that the collection and use of biometric identifiers scanning has neither been discussed nor approved by the state’s privacy regulator. Apparently the QLD Privacy Commissioner Philip Green was only made aware of the proposals following contact with the Foundation and after seeing the font page of the Courier-Mail.

Foundation spokesperson Liam Pomfret said “This is an extension of #CensusFail, #CentrelinkFail and #MyHRFail – badly–planned and badly administered big ticket technology projects whose managers and ministers failed to heed warnings. The Foundation asks the Queensland Government to immediately launch a proper public consultation and conduct a privacy impact assessment about the collection and use of biometrics on the state’s public transport system”.

Foundation spokesperson Justin Clacherty said “The Queensland Government needs to walk the talk about its respect for privacy. Why is such an invasive technology being established without consultation? Why is the Government engaging in policy by headline rather than through sensible discussion with stakeholders? What is the point of having a Queensland Privacy Commissioner who is not consulted about one of the most threatening technologies of the past 30 years”.

What the Queensland Government proposes to do is a danger to civil rights and privacy. These actions underscore the APF’s statements in March of this year for human rights protections to be given teeth teeth, protecting privacy rather than simply enabling what is administratively convenient for officials. The APF encourages Queenslanders to contact their local representatives and express their concern for this latest contribution to the erosion of their privacy.

Contact for this media release
For more information please contact:

Dr Monique Mann, APF Surveillance Committee Co-Chair
0402 299 008

Liam Pomfret

Justin Clacherty