Australia wants to use face-matching to verify people downloading porn

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The UK might have ditched plans for an age filter on online porn, but Australia is going all-in with a new proposal that could require internet users to verify their identity in a face-matching database before viewing pornography. The proposal comes as Australian lawmakers consider new restrictions around age verification for online porn and gambling as part of a bipartisan parliamentary inquiry. In a submission to the inquiry, first reported by ZDNet, Australia's Department of Home Affairs proposed using its Face Verification Service to verify internet users wanting to look at porn. "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," DHA wrote in a submission to the inquiry. "This could assist in age verification, for example by preventing a minor from using their parent's driver licence to circumvent age verification controls."
The first phase of the Face Verification Service launched in 2016 with a database that included citizenship images, accessible by government agencies including the Australian Federal Police. However, the Government has proposed expanding the Service to include drivers' license photos to capture a larger part of the population. DHA hasn't outlined the specific technical detail on how the Face Verification Service would be rolled out as means of verifying Australians on adult websites. But the proposal comes at a time when the issue of age verification is being keenly debated, with religious groups calling for the protection of minors and civil liberties groups raising concerns about the privacy and security of adults legitimately accessing legal pornography.
A similar porn filter proposed in the UK was delayed a number of times as the British government tried to pin down a system for reliably verify ages. The UK porn block proposal was dropped earlier this month.

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