Fraser Samson named new UK Commissioner for Biometrics and Surveillance Camera compliance

Former law enforcement official takes on dual role

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The new UK Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner is Fraser Samson, who was appointed to the newly combined role by Home Secretary Priti Patel to oversee compliance with the nation’s Surveillance Camera Code and police rules for DNA and fingerprint biometrics use.

Both commissioners roles have involved significant interaction with biometrics deployments, with Former Surveillance Camera Commissioner Tony Porter creating a guidance document for the establishment of live facial recognition programs by police in late-2020.

Samson took up the post on March 1 and is expected to serve in the role for at least three years.

He has previously served as Honorary Professor and Research Fellow at Sheffield Hallam University, and is a Solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales. He has also served as Chief Executive of the Police, Fire and Crime Commission for North Yorkshire from 2016 to 2019 among other roles in law enforcement.

“It is vital the government works to empower police to use technology to keep the public safe while maintaining their trust and Fraser Sampson’s extensive experience in law and policing makes him the right person to take up this role,” Patel said in the announcement.

Former Biometrics Commissioner Paul Wiles noted in an interim report in December that the new Commissioner will require significant support, and that Parliament had determined the Protection of Freedoms Act of 2012 entails separate roles for the positions.

“I’m delighted to have been appointed to cover these two distinct but increasingly overlapping roles,” comments Samson. “I look forward to working with all partners in what is a fast-moving and challenging area of balancing the public interest considerations with the rights of individuals.”

Porter spoke to Biometric Update about how to ensure facial recognition is used for good as he joined Corsight as its new chief privacy officer.

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