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FIDO Alliance stresses differences in MFA technologies, sensitivity of biometric data as GDPR takes effect


As the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect, the FIDO Alliance has published a post outlining its perspective on the law, sharing three things that every organization should know about it.

The data protection safeguards GDPR requires of companies doing business with EU citizens are only complete, in FIDO’s view, if they include multi-factor authentication (MFA). The group says 81 percent of all breaches last year were due to weak or stolen passwords, but also warns that hackers have learned how to bypass first-generation MFA technologies, making it important to chose the right MFA solution.

GDPR’s requirement of consent from individuals to process their data also requires that organizations authenticate the identity of those individuals, FIDO points out. In the case of sensitive data, that consent must be explicit.

Finally, while biometrics can deliver strong personal authentication to help meet GDPR requirements, biometric data is classified as “sensitive” by GDPR. Therefore, any entity using biometrics must make sure that use is compliant, and that data is robustly protected.

FIDO also offers a whitepaper about using FIDO authentication for GDPR compliance (PDF).

Professors of Accounting Paul Sheldon Foote and Sumantra Chakravarty examined issues relating to biometrics and GDPR compliance in a recent guest post for Biometric Update.

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