The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security was due to hold the hearing as part of its inquiry into the Identity-Matching Services Bill 2019 and the Australian Passports Amendment (Identity-matching Services) Bill 2019.
A statement from the EFA said the hearing had been scheduled to take place on 18 October, with representatives of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Law Council of Australia, Human Rights Law Centre, Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Electronic Frontiers Australia, Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Home Affairs set to appear.
EFA Policy Committee chair Angus Murray, who had been due to give evidence, said: “We don’t know why the public hearing has been cancelled. It is our view that the scope of the Bills dramatically and inappropriately exceeds Australian’s reasonable expectations to human rights protections including the right to privacy and freedom of association.
The EFA said there were national concerns around facial recognition, following the news that China had made it mandatory for people to scan their faces before accessing the Internet.
The US state of California has banned the use of facial recognition by police from 2020 onwards.