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UK Biometrics Commissioner resigns in anticipation of role’s elimination

Categories Biometrics News  |  Trade Notes
UK Biometrics Commissioner resigns in anticipation of role’s elimination
 

UK Surveillance Camera and Biometrics Commissioner Fraser Sampson has stepped down. His emailed letter of resignation to Home Secretary Suella Braverman states that the functions of the two roles will be rendered irrelevant by the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill.

The Bill removes the responsibilities of the Biometrics Commissioner role and gives them to the Investigatory Powers Commissioner. This decision has been roundly criticized by Sampson and his predecessor in the Surveillance Camera Commissioner role, Tony Porter, as well as UK academics and Porter’s Scottish counterpart. It also eliminates the need to publish the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice, effectively hamstringing the Commissioner, Sampson argues.

He explains the timing is linked to the passage of the Bill, which is now not expected to be signed into law until early 2024 or later. The original Data Protection and Digital Information Bill was withdrawn from parliament in March, and a second version advanced to the committee stage in May.

“Having explored a number of alternatives with officials, I am unable to find a practical way in which I can continue to discharge the functions of these two roles beyond 1 November,” Sampson says.

Sampson was appointed to the dual roles in March of 2021, and will remain in them until October 31.

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