Civil Liberties’ lawyer Terry O’Gorman this week criticised the lack of privacy safeguards in respect of Mastercard’s announcement that Australian users of Mastercard can use photographs of selfies to authenticate credit card transactions.

Mr O’Gorman said that while it was reasonable for a major credit card provider such as Mastercard to develop more effective technology to prevent credit card fraud, it is equally important that the Australian Federal Privacy Commissioner lay down strong and enforceable regulations to Mastercard to ensure the photos produced for authentication of credit card transactions are not onsold to other data companies.

“Last month Europe’s highest Court handed down a ruling affecting Google and other multinational companies requiring that the free for all onsale of data gathered by Google and other large data companies be significantly reined in”, Mr O’Gorman said.

“It is not within the power of individual Mastercard holders to approach Mastercard to ensure that the selfie photos are not onsold to companies who make large amounts of money by passing such data on to advertising companies”, Mr O’Gorman said.

Mr O’Gorman said that it is for this reason that it is absolutely critical that, before the Mastercard selfie photo authentication process is rolled out in Australia, the Federal Privacy Commissioner imposes a strong and effective regime on Mastercard to prevent unauthorised onsale of the photographic details.