Government facial recognition software raises privacy concerns for Australians - and more 10am Zedlines

The government's facial recognition database will give law enforcement agencies quick access to passport photos, driver's license photos, and potentially even social media photos. Image Source: WikiCommons

Uber calls on QLD to legalise service

Ride-sharing company Uber has called on its Queensland customers to use social media to pressure the Palaszczuk government to follow New South Wales’ example and legalise the service.

The government has delayed a decision until August next year after failing to achieve a new taxi strategy for the state.

Pending the government’s decision, Uber drivers will continue face fines and clashes with taxi bosses.

QLD Irish Club loses bid to keep headquarters

The Queensland Irish Association has announced that all hope is lost in its bid to keep its headquarters at Heritage Listed Tara House on Elizabeth Street, the premises it has occupied since 1919.

The Irish Club went into administration in January and the club’s steering committee recently announced it was unable to pay the rent demanded by the new owners.

The Association said it will call a meeting of the steering committee and former members in the new year to discuss the future operations.

ATO reveals almost 600 companies paid no tax in 2013-2014

The Australian Taxation Office has released figures showing close to 600 of Australia’s largest companies did not pay tax in the 2013/2014 financial year.

The data does not explain how the companies paid little or no tax, but it does highlight significant differences between overall income and taxable income, with Apple, Microsoft and Google paying the smallest ratio of tax to income.

The ATO has stated the figures do not necessarily implicate tax avoidance, and that there are a number of legal methods to minimise tax.

Government's facial recognition database could erode privacy of Australians

An assessment of the federal government’s planned facial recognition system, known as The Capability, has raised concerns about its effect on the privacy of Australians.

The Capability will give law enforcement agencies quick access to up to 100 million facial images taken from passports, licences and potentially social media accounts.

A government-commissioned assessment has revealed the program could collect more information than is necessary and runs the risk of being vulnerable to hacking or interception.

Australian Privacy Foundation vice-chair David Vaile said the system threatens our right to anonymity and to go about our own business.

UN condemns lack of response to French soldiers' child sexual abuse allegations

An independent study commissioned by the UN has condemned its failure to respond to allegations of child sexual abuse by French soldiers in the Central African Republic.

The inquiry states that following initial complaints from a whistleblower in two-thousand-and-fourteen, UN staff were uncooperative with the French government and preferred to focus on protocol rather than action.

The report also condemns UN staffers for failing to supply adequate resources to children in the warzone, and taking no action to locate victims or discipline perpetrators.

Indonesia's parliament speaker resigns amid corruption allegations

The speaker of Indonesia’s parliament, Setya Novanto, has resigned pending the parliamentary ethics committee’s verdict on his part in a recent corruption scandal.

Mr Novanto allegedly tried to extort a four billion dollar stake from the owners of the country’s largest mine.

The ethics committee has delivered a scathing verdict on both Mr Novanto and the mining company Freeport, but analysts say the case is likely to end there, considering the high levels of corruption in Indonesia.

Mr Novanto remains an MP and is unlikely to face criminal investigation.