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Biometrics Institute eyes ‘Trust Mark’ certification program

Biometrics Institute eyes ‘Trust Mark’ certification program

The Biometrics Institute is working on a program that it says will reassure the public of the responsible use of biometrics, and will make privacy compliance more transparent and easier to understand.

According to Biometrics Institute CEO Isabelle Moeller, the group is presently building an advisory panel for the proposed “Trust Mark” program and it is currently in consultation with its members and stakeholders, brainstorming the new idea. The Biometrics Institute announced the new proposed Trust Mark system earlier this month, at the Biometrics 2014 event in London.

The essence of the idea is that the Biometrics Institute will come up with specific criteria and will test members’ products and services will be tested against these standards. Those that pass would then be given a badge or “Trust Mark” to show their compliance.

“We’ve been working on this Trust Mark for about a year internally and have spoken with members quite proactively in meetings and member meetings,” Moeller said. “And the overall feedback has been extremely positive.”

Today the Biometrics Institute has 172 global members.

Last month, the Institute announced that it had made a submission to the UK government’s Science and Technology Committee, looking to establish and enforce guidelines regarding privacy assessments for the responsible use of biometrics.

So far the program is in its early stages and Moeller says that a 2015 launch would be ideal, but that it’s still quite soon to pin down a specific date. There’s a lot of work yet to be done, and the breadth of membership that the Biometrics Institute boasts poses a challenge to composing the Trust Mark criteria.

According to Moeller, “there will only be one Trust Mark, but depending on the organization, we may have different criteria.”

Evaluating privacy compliance is nothing new for the Institute, Moeller says. In the group’s early days, it helped inform policy for the Australian privacy act. The Trust Mark idea has already seen interest from U.S. and American government agencies.

“The critical thing is compliance,” Moeller said. “We need to work out what the criteria are that we’d put this product or service through to then receive this Trust Mark. That is the challenge we have, because we have a global membership and we can’t just link [the Trust Mark] to a certain privacy act.”

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