Biometrics Institute emphasizes basic privacy principles to build trust in biometrics

June 24, 2015 - 

The Biometrics Institute announced it is disappointed by the U.S. National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA) privacy multistakeholder consultation regarding a voluntary code of conduct for companies using facial recognition technology has failed following the withdrawal of several representatives from privacy groups.

Representatives from privacy groups American Civil Liberties Union, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Center for Democracy and Technology have all withdrawn from the privacy multistakeholder consultation regarding the guidelines for facial recognition use.

“Informed consent and notice remain fundamental principles for the Biometrics Institute to build trust in the use of biometric technologies,” said Isabelle Moeller, CEO of the Biometrics Institute. “The Biometrics Institute has been actively promoting the responsible use of biometrics since its foundation in 2001. Our Privacy Guideline highlights principles such as informed consent. Creating and sustaining citizen’s and the public’s trust in biometric technologies is essential.”

“This discussion again raises the fundamental issue of the covert versus overt enrolment of biometrics,” said Juliet Lodge, a member of the Biometrics Institute Privacy Expert Group. “The reluctance of commercial enterprises to obtain consumers’ permission to capture and exploit their biometrics is disturbing as they are not citing specific objective reasons for their behaviour in the same way as the public sector e.g. preventing terrorism, crime and protecting borders etc.

“One can only assume that they wish to use these mass enrolments purely for commercial gain and that does not balance particularly well with the civil liberty arguments that we are familiar with. The big issue around trust stems not from the roll out of technologies but from the lack of knowledge and consent about mining linkage.”

Although the Biometrics Institute places great emphasis on protecting privacy and data, it admits that these goals must be customized accordingly based on the country, culture and legislation.

The organization also stresses that a fully engagement with all stakeholders including industry, users, privacy regulators and advocates is an essential part of ensuring the responsible use of biometrics.

As such, the Biometrics Institute will continue consulting with its members and key stakeholders regarding privacy issues and on the Trust Mark proposal in the coming month.

Additionally, the Biometrics Institute’s board of directors has approved a feasibility study for the Trust Mark proposal, which it will now use for consultation.

Previously reported, the Biometrics Institute recently launched its 2015 Industry Survey requesting its members and key stakeholders to provide input on the current status and expected future developments of the biometrics industry.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.