Redoubled privacy, ethics efforts urged by Biometrics Institute, Corsight CPO

Categories Biometric R&D  |  Biometrics News  |  Trade Notes

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The Biometrics Institute is calling for privacy to be made more of a priority to reflect global changes in technology and legislation with its new Privacy Guidelines for members.

The Institute’s Privacy Guidelines are updated every two years, and the latest version adds two new principles. One sets out the need to have a communications plan to explain the pros and cons of using a biometric, both to the public and the organization’s employees, while the other addresses the need for even legal biometrics use by law enforcement to uphold ethics and be sensitive to community expectations and human rights.

Other key changes include making existing principles stronger based on developments including the pandemic, advances in AI, the popularity of ancestry research services and increasing sophistication of international crime and terrorism. Protections against discrimination and exclusion are enhanced, stronger advice is provided about openness and informed consent, and for law enforcement and legal organizations to more fully understand biometric technology in terms of accuracy, bias, and failure rates. Fair handling of complaints and human intervention to mitigate harms are also further addressed.

“The guidelines are not intended to replace local laws, but bring a higher level of good practice to the fore,” explains Terry Aulich, who heads the Biometrics Institute’s Privacy and Policy Expert Group. “Whether the users are police forces, the aviation industry, border authorities, humanitarian organisations, health researchers or social media companies, the guidelines are ethical and practical advice about obtaining a genuine balance between technology and human considerations.”

The Privacy Guidelines contain 18 principles, along with a methodology for planning, implementing and managing a strong biometric privacy environment.

Customers care about ethics, so providers should too, Corsight privacy chief argues

An article by current Corsight Chief Privacy Officer and former UK Surveillance Camera Commissioner Tony Porter published in the May issue of International Security Journal emphasizes the importance of ethics for biometrics providers, meanwhile.

Live facial recognition greatly expands the possible scope of biometrics collection, Porter points out, raising the ethical stakes. Those stakes are inherently of core importance to customers in law enforcement and other fields where biometrics and AI are procured, so the companies providing those technologies have more than a peripheral interest in ensuring their implementations are ethical.

The EU’s new AI strategy puts remote face biometrics and similar technologies into a special “high-risk” category.

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