On Data Privacy Day 2021, as it prepares a review of its Privacy Guidelines for Biometrics, the Biometrics Institute stresses the importance of both public health and privacy. It urges caution to anyone rushing to develop a biometric solution to the issues thrown up by COVID-19. In the last 12 months, the global pandemic has changed society as we know it. The world has had to quickly embrace new thinking, new technology and new methods of interacting to battle the virus, monitor bio-hazard risks and enable economies to continue to function. But how much privacy do we expect the public to give up to end the pandemic, the international membership organisation asks? In workplaces, at borders and in public places, biometrics have the potential to contribute to a modern approach to the global challenge. The responsible use of the technology could enable a contactless lifestyle and societal functionality to mitigate contamination risks. Biometrics could also transform how we monitor and manage the health of individuals entering crowded and therefore potentially hazardous places like office buildings, shops, factories, airports and stadiums. A biometrically-enabled digital health credential could get the world moving again. But with so many claims of silver bullet solutions flooding the market, anyone implementing biometrics should approach their project responsibly and ethically and not allow the current landscape to tempt them to cut corners, the institute urges. Isabelle Moeller, chief executive of the Biometrics Institute says, “We need an informed discussion on how to protect health data, as well as public health. Proper policies and processes must be implemented before the technology is rolled out. COVID-19 has created potential new use cases of biometrics in the application of video and other surveillance to trace people who have tested positive or interacted with individuals who have. Whether health protection trumps privacy protection is a new and controversial question for our age. We hope the global community will continue to use our Three Laws of Biometrics to guide them in their implementations. This is a very timely moment for the update to our Privacy Guidelines.”