The first phase of the government’s new Face Verification Service (FVS) is now live, justice minister Michael Keenan has announced.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australian Federal Police now have access to citizenship images held by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, with the government planning to expand both the number of agencies able to use the FVS and the types of image accessible through the system.
Keenan said that visa, passport and driver licence photos will be added to the FVS, which is intended to make it easier for agencies to share imagery between discrete systems in order to verify identity.
A Face Identification Service (FIS) to identify unknown individuals is planned to commence operations next year. The minister said that access to the FIS will be “restricted to a limited number of users in specialist areas.”
The government today also launched its third report assessing the cost to Australia of identity theft.
Identity crime costs Australia $2.6 billion every year, according to the report, including direct and indirect losses and the costs of preventing and responding to identity theft.
Around 4-5 per cent of Australians are believed to experience a financial loss from identity crime each year, the report said.