Netherlands stands up Biometrics Standards Committee as UK adds new ethics group members

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Netherlands stands up Biometrics Standards Committee as UK adds new ethics group members

A pair of European government bodies have boosted their biometrics governance initiatives; one for international engagement, and one for national issues.

The Royal Netherlands Standardization Institute (NEN) has announced the formation of a new Biometrics Standards Committee, which will work with international experts to develop standards for increased effectiveness of biometric systems.

Formats for exchanged data and biometric profiles are identified as important topics for the committee, according to a Google translation of the announcement. Privacy issues, legal issues, and the optimal methods for storing and sharing biometric data are also seen as high-priority challenges.

NEN notes in the announcement that there is no specific legal framework for biometrics beyond the EU’s GDPR, and says the Biometrics Standards Committee will represent Dutch interests in international standards discussions.

The experts making up the committee come from government agencies, renowned tech companies, and startups, and a variety of professions including IT technicians and lawyers, according to the announcement.

The UK government’s Biometrics and Forensics Ethics Group (BFEG) has been joined by four new members, who bring expertise in digital privacy, biometric systems, information policy and ethics to the group, according to the announcement.

The new members are Dr. Nóra Ni Loideain, who is director of the Information Law and Policy Centre, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London, Dr. Richard Guest, who is reader in Biometrics Systems Engineering and Deputy Head of the School of Engineering and Digital Arts at the University of Kent, University of Edinburgh Turing Fellow Professor Charles Rabb, and Dr. Julian Huppert, director and fellow at the Intellectual Forum, Jesus College Cambridge.

“I’m delighted to be welcoming these new members to be part of the Biometrics and Forensics Ethics Group,” comments BFEG Chair Mark Watson-Gandy. “They bring a wealth of experience and will help us to provide independent advice to the Home Office on the ethical impact of all aspects of biometrics, particularly around data ethics.”

Controversial trials of live facial recognition by UK police, and providing principles for a policy framework around them, has kept the BFEG busy so far, and the Home Office’s plans for large and complex data sets was also referred to the group earlier this year.

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