Thousands of New Zealanders travelling to Australia could have “biometric data” such as facial recognition data, iris scans and fingerprints collected, stored and shared among security agencies across the Tasman.

The measures are part of new counter-terrorism laws which may serve as the model for similar legislation in this country.

The “foreign fighter” laws being scrutinised by Australia’s Parliament will initially expand the use of SmartGate passport control terminals which use digital imaging and facial recognition technology. However, the bill also allows for the collection and storage of iris scans and fingerprints.

The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service estimates that between 40 and 60 per cent of the 35 million travellers – including New Zealanders – leaving and entering Australia each year would be photographed under the new law.

The department would also be able to share the biometric information for “specified purposes”, although the new legislation’s explanatory memoranda does not explain what these purposes are, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

A spokeswoman for Mr Key, who is also Minister for National Security and Intelligence, would not comment on whether the review would look at similar biometric data collection measures for New Zealand. She also refused to comment on implications for New Zealanders under the Australian law.

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The Five-Eyes spy network is between the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom and currently information is freely shared between each. This means bio-metric information collected on you at an Australian airport will then be entered into the NSA Echelon database in case you are one day considered a ‘terror threat’. 

What is concerning is that the definition of what a ‘terror threat’ is could very easily be manipulated to include dissent against the Government. As we saw last year with the anti-protest laws, the government is willing to go to extreme lengths to maintain the status-quo. 

We can expect Key to match the ‘counter-terrorism laws’ brought in over the ditch in the coming months, while the media plays its part whipping the nation into a fear based frenzy that we are under attack. 

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Wake Up NZ is a team of dedicated truth-seekers from all over New Zealand. We are committed to disseminating information that the mainstream media fails to bring to you.

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