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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Challenges continue to mount for the National Access Card

The resignation of the Minister for Human Services Senator Campbell over the Burke affair means that the new minister will be the third in three months to hold the portfolio.

He/she will need to be a quick learner.

On the one hand, the Government says the Human Services (Enhanced Service Delivery) Bill must be passed urgently. On the other, senior public servants told the Senate Committee last Friday that the Department was still seeking advice on a wide range of issues concerning related legal issues such as access by intelligence services and the police to the 16million photographs in the proposed database.

Senate Committee hearings in Melbourne yesterday saw the Labor Party make it clear that it would scrap the scheme in its present form, if elected to office later this year, and some senators call for more time before the legislation is rushed through.

In the latest issue of Privacy Aware ( 1 March 2007 ), the Victorian Privacy Commission says that the combination of the mandatory information in the Government's section of the chip, and the open invitation to include other information in the cardholder's section will pose enormous privacy risks.

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