Biometrics Institute releases annual survey results and calls for balanced dialogue

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Biometrics Institute releases annual survey results and calls for balanced dialogue

The Biometrics Institute is calling for a balanced dialogue to demystify biometrics with the release of the fascinating results of the Biometrics Institute Industry Survey. This year’s survey shows privacy, data protection, and legislation are dominant concerns within the industry.

Almost twice as many survey respondents say controls are not tight enough (44 percent) as say they are (24 percent), with 32 percent unsure.

The survey was conducted in May through emails to nearly 7,000 Biometrics Institute members, other key stakeholders, and members of the media from around the world. Just under half of respondents are from business supplying biometric and related technology.

A common concern about heavier regulation is its potential to stifle innovation and investment, but they survey indicates that this view is largely not held by the biometrics industry, and 82 percent are “very” or “quite” optimistic about their opportunities in 2019. Interestingly, technology suppliers and North American respondents are most optimistic. The Institute notes that there was broad agreement between members and non-members on most topics.

The interest in increased regulation is likely related to privacy concerns, which 74 percent say are holding back the biometrics market, and 66 percent say are constraining the market the most of all issues. Data sharing concerns are also cited as a market restraint by 43 percent, up nearly 10 percent from a year ago. Poor knowledge of biometrics among decision makers and misinformation about biometrics are also holding back the market, according to 38 percent and 35 percent, respectively.

The Institute warned earlier this year that misuse and failure to follow best practices could undermine public confidence in biometrics and lead to greater restrictions being enacted by governments.

There are too many instances in which informed consent has not been properly obtained, 56 percent say, a 10 percent increase from last year. When asked where biometrics should not have been implemented, each of social media and school administration are chosen by 22 percent.

When asked if biometrics use is growing too rapidly for existing controls to be effective, 38 percent agreed, and a slightly lower number disagreed, but those in Australia and New Zealand were particularly likely to agree.

“Our annual survey is an opportunity for our members and others working in biometrics to share their views on the current trends and their projections for the future. The main findings confirm that a balanced and informed discussion about biometrics is more necessary than ever,” asserts Biometrics Institute CEO Isabelle Moeller. “Those who completed the survey clearly have questions about the current hot topics of legislation, privacy and data protection. We are facilitating ongoing discussions about the importance of rigorous processes, internal policies and the technology among our multi-stakeholder community and debating whether tougher legislation is the answer.

“The belief expressed in the survey that the spread of misinformation about biometrics is restraining the market is echoed in every one of our member meetings,” Moeller continues. “We know our Congress in London in October will be a major meeting point where our multi-stakeholder community will thrash out these issues. We hope anyone with an interest in responsible and ethical use will join us for a balanced discussion and help shape the future of biometrics.”

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