In Australia, a government committee has said that consumers should be allowed to disable contactless payment features, ZDNet reported Monday (Sept. 7).

The recommendation from the parliamentary joint committee on law enforcement said in a report that financial institutions that issue cards for debit and credit use should establish “opt-in” features that would require consumer consent before the features would be activated on their cards. The impetus comes as the committee, with input from law enforcement agencies, cited concerns about the intersection between technology and finance-related criminal activity. Among the concerns raised: Victoria Police said that it had been seeing a “significant increase” in “tap-and-go” technology-related crime, wherein credit cards have been stolen “with little risk of capture by police or of physical identification,” ZDNet noted.

The concerns and cautions of the committee tied specifically to contactless payments were disputed by banking industry employees. Guy Boyd, global head of financial crime for Australian and New Zealand Banking Group, said in his own report that such technology does not in fact drive fraud losses.

The parliamentary committee also recommended that the attorney general’s department consider offering victims of identity fraud a certificate which would help support claims tied to that criminal activity — even as less than 6 percent of criminals tied to identity crime are arrested or successfully prosecuted.

ZDNet noted in its article that the attorney general’s office has been planning to launch a biometric matching system nationwide by the middle of next year. That system would operate with an emphasis on facial recognition and data (and not, say, license plates or other identifying criteria) that would be shared across law enforcement professionals alone — with hub-and-spoke technology rather than a centralized database to help ensure security.


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