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Work on ethical commercial biometrics use starts early and never ends

Categories Biometrics News  |  Trade Notes
Work on ethical commercial biometrics use starts early and never ends

Considerations for businesses to ensure their use of biometrics is responsible and ethical begin with an assessment of whether the technology is really needed, and if the answer is “yes,” continue after it has been implemented. This emphasis on careful and cautious policy creation was a central theme of a webinar on “Responsible and ethical commercial biometrics” hosted by Biometric Update on Wednesday.

The presentation featured an all-star lineup of professionals representing the academic, business and legal communities.

Dr. Stephanie Schuckers, director of CITeR, noted that biometric authentication typically carries different risks than remote identity proofing. The decisions around risk tolerance and system architecture that businesses make are therefore likely to be different, depending on the application.

Isabelle Moeller, CEO of the Biometrics Institute, observed that even when policy is considered first, as the Institute advises in its Three Laws of Biometrics, businesses often underestimate the investment of resources necessary to get that initial step right.

David Oberly, Biometrics team lead for Baker Donelson’s Data Protection, Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice, pointed to the Federal Trade Commission’s recent attention to biometrics as an example of how the regulatory landscape in the U.S. as shifting. Still, he says, planning biometrics deployments with ethics in mind is the best way to work towards legal and regulatory compliance.

Jeremy Grant, Venable managing director of Technology Business Strategy, said that the prominent examples of biometric technology’s ethical failures, such as in recent law enforcement examples, are results of implementers not fully thinking through the details of their deployment. He also argued that in many cases, applications like selfie biometrics for identity proofing are actually more equitable than legacy approaches, that for instance hold out people without adequate credit history.

Panelists also explored issues related to data storage, ballooning civil lawsuit damages, and the resources available to help businesses navigate the challenges of responsible biometrics deployment during the discussion.

The webinar is now available to watch on-demand with free registration.

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