The government of Australia is considering technological measures to ensure that only adults have access to certain types of online content, including gambling sites. The Department of Home Affairs recently alerted a parliamentary committee that facial scans could be an option for restricting access to certain websites.
Facial scans are already used for passport photos and drivers’ licenses so the same technique could be integrated within online gaming sites to assist in the age verification process. The technology could ensure the legal age of the individual but also work as a deterrent for those who are trying to access the sites when they are self-excluded.
Despite the positive effects of facial recognition software for online gambling, advocates for privacy laws are concerned. They feel that authorizing a biometric database via government agencies and private companies would be a breach of privacy.
There is also concern that this type of system would cause an increase in surveillance, even of those who are not suspected of taking part in illegal activity.
There is concern that such software could lead to major issues with government overstepping their boundaries, such as the case in China. Cameras are all around in public places of China and as of this December, citizens who are getting a new phone number or signing up for internet services will need to submit biometric data.
The telecom carriers will then have to verity that a mobile or landline account is registered with a real person. An account that appears to be fake will be cancelled.
These are just a few concerns aired by privacy advocates as the government considers this new option for data collection and online access. It will be interesting to see if the facial scan process is integrated into the online realm and if it will have any affect on who is able to access gambling sites.