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Australia to Enhance Power to collect biometric data w.e.f. February 2016

Posted - 30, Jan 2016

The Australian Immigration Authorities now going to have the enhanced power to gather the Biometric data under the latest legislation, which will be a law effective February, 2016. Australias Biometric Act is applicable to all the citizens and non-citizens coming into the country and now it will empower the immigration authorities to gather the biometric details of the majors and minors travelling to Australia.

The law enables the authorities to take the biometric data including the iris scan and fingerprints. The law although is applicable to everyone entering Australia, however, it is majorly focused on preventing the terrorist entry and activities.

Controversies with regard to Law Implementation
However, the law has certain controversial elements that contradict the Migration Act, that exempt the minors (i.e. under the age of 15) to from providing their personal identifiers, other than the general information i.e. weight and height measurement and passport sized photograph.

It will be interesting to see how people take it once it become effective, as it is already being criticized by the key agencies and authorities, i.e. ALHR (Australian Lawyers for Human Rights), Privacy Commissioner and Law Council of Australia, in view of its potential undesirable affects on minors.

DIBP Process in Practice
The DIBP (Department of Immigration and Border Protection) as of now, seeks the identifiers, i.e. signatures, photographs, fingerprints, etc. in crucial cases only. Moreover, the biometric data, as of now, is collected for issuing the visa and verifying whether a person holds the valid visa or not and that too is gathered from non-citizens only.

It is permitted to provide the identifiers of the visa applicants to the certain government departments and agencies in Australia, apart from the international associations and nations for definite purpose, i.e. tackling identity frauds and verifying the identity or criminal records, etc.

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