Biometrics Institute informs UK Parliament about privacy concerns

September 19, 2014 - 

Biometrics Institute announced it has made a submission to the UK government’s Science and Technology Committee addressing the need to establish and enforce guidelines regarding privacy and vulnerability assessments for the responsible use of biometrics.

The submission is in response to the Committee’s call for submissions last month to its inquiry regarding the potential use and collection of biometric data, as well as whether or not the current regulations in this relatively new field are sufficient.

In its submission, the Biometrics Institute provides a brief explanation of the different uses of biometrics, both currently and in the future.

The Biometrics Institute emphasized how crucial it is that the public understands that not all biometrics are the same, nor are they 100% accurate. Managers of biometric systems should keep this in mind when planning and operating any biometric system.

“One of the major threats to privacy we see is the potential of re-purposing and function-
creep and, especially, data linkage, both by governments and private companies,” said

Isabelle Moeller, CEO of the Biometrics Institute. “Robust data handling procedures and education are needed.”

The Biometrics Institute has developed a universal “Biometrics Institute Privacy Guideline” to serve as a guide on biometrics and privacy.

The Institute recommends that the Committee reviews the guideline before making any changes to legislation which might impact the collection, storage or usage of individual personal data, particularly in regards to biometrics.

“The Biometrics Institute has developed the privacy guideline as a practical guide for senior and middle management to plan for an effective privacy regime,” said Moeller.

“We are happy to work with the Government using this and other tools that have been developed by the Institute.”

Established in 2001, the Biometrics Institute is an independent not-for-profit organization in Australia that has over 150 members comprised of vendors, users, law enforcement authorities and research organizations.

The Institute will further discuss the responsible use of biometrics in the public and private sector at upcoming events, including Biometrics 2014: the future of identity starts here! on October 21-23 in London, and Showcase Australia on November 14 in Canberra.

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About Stephen Mayhew

Stephen Mayhew is the publisher and co-founder of Biometrics Research Group, Inc.. His experience includes a mix of entrepreneurship, brand development and publishing. Stephen attended Carleton University and lives in Toronto, Canada. Connect with Stephen on LinkindIn.