Biometrics Institute launches first universal privacy guidelines for biometrics

Border Management Update - May 10, 2019

Biometrics Privacy
Making sure people's privacy is protected has never been more important.

As the potential and application of biometric technology multiplies, making sure people’s privacy is protected has never been more important, writes Biometrics Institute Chief Executive Isabelle Moeller in a recent communication.
“Every two years we update our Privacy Guidelines to make sure they reflect global changes in technology or legislation which impacts privacy. For the first time, these good practice guidelines include the significant international implications introduced by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), applied to biometrics.”

The result of extensive monitoring and consultation by the Institute’s Privacy and Policy Expert Group, it is believed that the 2019 guidelines are the first comprehensive, universal privacy guidelines for biometrics

“These guidelines are universal and applicable to you whether you are a supplier, researcher, operator, purchaser, manager or controller of biometric systems anywhere in the world,” commented Moeller.

The guidelines, first introduced to Biometrics Institute members in 2006, are made up of 16 principles ranging from non-discrimination to maintaining a strong privacy environment. They also contain a methodology to make planning, implementing them straightforward, regardless of members’ experience in using biometrics.

In March, the Institute launched its Ethical Principles for Biometrics to guide members to act ethically, in the absence of international law. The revised Guidelines reflect that emphasis on ethical action, and takes into account developments including:

  • The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
  • The increased reach and collection of personal data by social media platforms
  • The growth of artificial intelligence, drones and more sophisticated facial recognition systems
  • The widespread use of biometrics in border control, telecommunications, security and food and medical distribution in displaced persons groups.

The Guidelines cover:

  • Redress and complaints by people who have suffered discrimination, humiliation or damage as a result of biometric-related systems
  • Stronger privacy protection for data collection by automated systems, especially for minors and those with disabilities
  • Advice on managing subcontractors
  • The role of audits and privacy impact assessments
  • Managing data breaches
  • The right of citizens to have their biometric and record amended or deleted.

The Guidelines are available only to Biometrics Institute members. Visit the Institute website for more information:

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