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Public-private biometrics collaborations will increase; establish robust policies, UK govt group urges

biometric identification facial recognition

Collaborations on live facial recognition and other biometric technologies between the public and private sectors are likely to increase, according to a new analysis from the UK Government’s Biometrics and Forensics Ethics Group. The Group identifies several ethical concerns that need to be addressed to make sure the fruits of those collaborations do not cause harm, in the absence of regulation.

The 12-page ‘Briefing note on the ethical issues arising from public-private collaboration in the use of live facial recognition technology’ makes recommendations to address concerns around the sharing of data and technology, the development of behavioral biometrics as part of live facial recognition systems, discrimination and bias, watchlist construction and the effects of LFR use in private spaces used by the public.

An independent ethics group should oversee the use of live facial recognition both by police and in public-private collaborations, the Group says.

The other six recommendations are that police only share data with organizations vetted for trustworthiness, minimization of access to data, safe and secure storage of all biometric data, narrow and targeted watchlists, publicly available records on collaborations involving LFR, and authorization of all such biometric collaborations by a senior police officer.

The recommendations were issued based on evidence gathered from government and law enforcement groups, the relevant UK Commissioner’s Offices, groups like Big Brother Watch and Liberty, and industry representatives AnyVision and AWS.

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