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Scotland parliamentary committee considers Biometrics Commissioner role details


The Justice Committee of Scotland’s Parliament is seeking input as it considers the scope and enforcement powers of the proposed new Scottish Biometrics Commissioner, according to UKAuthority.

A bill to create the position of Biometrics Commissioner is currently before Scottish Parliament, as the country attempts to apply oversight to the use of biometric data, including fingerprints, DNA, and facial images, by Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority. The committee will explore the appropriateness of the role’s mandate, responsibilities, power, and ability to effectively enforce compliance.

Committee Chair Margaret Mitchell says that balancing the protection of the public from harm against protection against state intrusion is particularly difficult.

“The rapid development of technology that can identify individuals by using highly personal data, and the huge risks associated with this sort of data being used improperly, means that these are interesting and timely proposals from the Scottish Government,” Mitchell says.

“The committee will grapple with whether the idea to create this new commissioner is the right way to deal with these issues, and whether the commissioner’s proposed powers and remit are fit for the challenges ahead.”

Scotland’s Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf noted when the bill was introduced that oversight in the area is still a work in progress, as there is no universally accepted set of working standards for biometrics.

The closing date for submissions to the committee is August 30, and December 20 is the deadline set by parliament for Stage 1 scrutiny.

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