Malcolm Turnbull will lobby states and territories to hand over pictures of every licensed driver in the country in order to compile a database of terror suspects.
The Federal Government will lobby for access to the photos at a counter-terror summit in Canberra on Thursday.
The pictures would allow surveillance cameras fitted with facial recognition technology to scan crowds at Australian airports for suspected terrorists.
Speaking on Tuesday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the technology could ‘further harmonise and advance our response to the threat of terrorism’
Federal security agencies already have access to passport and visa photos, but government sources said drivers’ license photos were the ‘mother-load’.
The government source said they would also consider incorporating Facebook photos into their database, Nine News reported.
Thursday will not be the first time the idea has been floated.
Law enforcement agencies have long pressed for the intel but privacy concerns have stopped the database from forming legs.
Should Australia give the federal government access to people’s drivers’ license photos, it would follow in the the United States’ footsteps.
Police help to screen passengers at Sydney Airport this year following a foiled Islamist-inspired ‘terrorist plot’
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the technology had the ability to ‘further harmonise and advance our response to the threat of terrorism’
Security officials will consider using facial recognition to catch terror suspects at Australian airport terminals (Sydney Airport pictured)
The US FBI has access to drivers’ license photos from 18 states, all of which are stored in the US’ own facial recognition database.
The US Centre for Privacy and Technology highlighted problems with the database, claiming suspects were chosen with an algorithm and mistakes were common.
The centre said the system wrongly matched people 15 per cent of the time, and African-Americans were most commonly misidentified.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the technology could ‘further harmonise and advance our response to the threat of terrorism’.
Mr Turnbull said The Commonwealth would also lobby for the harmonisatin of federal and state laws relating to bail and parole in cases of terror.
The Federal Government previously committed to spending $122 million to install the facial recognition technology
The Federal Government previously committed to spending $122 million to install the facial recognition technology.
Justice Minister Michael Keenan told Sky News there were ‘plenty of databases’ owned by the commonwealth and state governments that had the ability to recognise people’s faces.
However Mr Keenan said there were still limitations with the databases.
‘At the moment we’ve got very archaic ways of our law enforcement from accessing that data,’ he said on Tuesday.
‘I think it’s pretty basic that state, territory and commonwealth police have access to appropriate information.’
Former foreign minister Bob Carr said he expected the database to have the full support of the Council of Australian Governments at Thursday’s meeting.
‘Facial recognition technology is something that has been explored for decades, I think it provides some very reassuring possibilities,’ he told Sky.
Justice Minister Michael Keenan (pictured) said there were ‘plenty of databases’ owned by the commonwealth and state governments that had the ability to recognise people’s faces
While facial recognition would be a step forward, airport technology has been the cause of chaos at Australian airports in recent weeks.
Thousands of passengers were left stranded as recently as Thursday when boarding systems failed at all major east coast airports.
Sydney Airport was described as a ‘disaster zone’ last Monday, as thousands of travellers were stuck at airports across Australia on the first day of school holidays.
Sydney Aircraft control systems went down just after 5am on Monday September 25, preventing all flights from leaving the domestic and international airports.