A senior Australian official has said that authorities could use still images from social media in a new facial biometrics system.When questioned if there was any law that would prevent the system from ingesting photographs from publicly available sources like social media sites, Andrew Rice, the assistant secretary of the department, answered: “It's possible”, reported the Australian version of the Guardian.”Still images out of these kinds of environments could be put into the system. That would be a choice for the users of the system,” said Rice.However, he added that it could only happen if users of the capability, such as police agencies, could legally draw on those sources at present, and that “is not something that would be available for broad usage within agencies”.”Making those choices will be on the basis of their existing legal permissions,” Rice said.In September, the government revealed plans for $18.5 million (US$13m) system called the Capability – short for The National Facial Biometric Matching Capability – which is due to be operational from mid next year.The national facial recognition system will provide a hub mechanism for agencies to launch queries against facial images recorded on passports, visas and driver's licences, with officials saying it will help tackle organised crime. It will operate on a “hub and spoke” system rather than a single database. Keenan said the program would operate under the Privacy Act 1988 and agencies would need to have legislative authority to collect and use facial images.