Scottish Justice Secretary trusts independent biometrics commissioner will gain public trust in data use
Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf has made the commitment that the long-awaited biometrics commissioner will make the public more confident their data is used in a “lawful and ethical” manner, writes Scottish Legal News.
Yousaf assured the Scottish Parliament that the biometrics commissioner would be independent and would closely monitor how this data is used in the criminal justice system, following MSP approval of the general principles outlined in the bill.
Yousaf explained the law would ensure safety in the community, but it would also respect individuals’ rights and improve police work.
“Given the explosion in biometric data and technologies in recent years, it is all the more important that we have an independent commissioner who will lead a national conversation about rights, responsibilities and standards,” he said.
The Bill was welcomed by Scottish Labour MSP James Kelly who believes an independent biometric commissioner is an important addition.
“I think there are issues that have come out in the Justice Committee’s report around the scope of the commissioner’s role, the powers that they have and access, and I hope the Cabinet Secretary takes on board some of the views that have already been expressed,” Kelly said.
“I’m sure if there aren’t appropriate changes ahead of stage two, members across the chamber will bring forward amendments to seek to strengthen this Bill to make it more effective and more robust.”
Last year, a coalition of rights advocacy groups called on Scotland’s government to expand the scope of the proposed biometrics commissioner position.