The Australian goverment wants to collect children's fingerprints for criminal checks

New entry procedures for Japan require fingerprint data collection. Photo: Getty Images

The Australian goverment may soon be able to collect fingerprints and other biometric data from children as young as 10, thought to be involved in terrorist groups or criminal activities.

New legislation passed in the Senate would see the government obtain children’s fingerprints, and possibly iris scans and facial imagery, to enhance Australia’s criminal databases.

The new laws, if enacted, will allow for live fingerprint scans on hand-held devices at airports and seaports. The government says data collected from adults will not be stored if they are cleared against databases and children’s data will be discarded once they turn 18.

The Australian reports the government believes the identification advancements will assist in catching asylum seekers attempting to re-enter the country using fake identities.

The information will also assist the government in detecting children who have been or are attempting to be smuggled or abducted in and out of the country.

The department for immigration and border protection began collecting biometrics from non-citizens in 2006, and has progressively been expanding its biometric collection program.

The bill, which passed the Senate without a vote, will go back before the House of Representatives for final approval.

But a parliamentary human rights committee warns collecting fingerprints and facial data from children may be against their human rights.

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