The highest proportion of respondents to the Biometrics Institute’s annual Industry Survey believe digital identity will be the main area of significant biometric development over the next five years. Industry professionals (90+%) agreed that biometrics will be the key enabler for anchoring digital identity and  also that there will continue to be significant growth in mobile remote identity verification systems and remote onboarding technology. Our Digital Onboarding and Biometrics Guiding Paper was a first initiative to address good practices for biometrics and digital identity and this work will continue.

In its twelfth year, the Institute’s Industry Survey provides an insight into current trends and developments in the biometrics industry over the last year as well as looking ahead to the future. The results also provide insights into industry views on several key issues.

Isabelle Moeller, Biometrics Institute chief executive said, ‘This year new questions on vaccine certificates and the use of biometrics; the importance of testing and the risk of spoofing; as well as those on digital identity were included in the Industry Survey. These will be explored further in our upcoming member discussions commencing with the annual Biometrics Institute Congress to be held online in October 2021.

As privacy concerns continue to be seen as the main barrier to the adoption of biometrics, and legislation; regulation; standards and testing all struggle to keep pace with technology, the Institute has an important role to play in continuing to bring diverse stakeholders together to discuss these issues. Our biannual Privacy Guidelines Paper which reflects the global changes in technology and legislation which impact privacy was updated in May.”

This year there was majority agreement (63%) that the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of biometric solutions, with three quarters thinking that new solutions and technology will be critical in managing this and future pandemics.

In the health area, most (60%) thought that biometrics should be used internationally to provide the necessary identification assurance for vaccine certificates with few (14%) actively disagreeing. There were divergent views as to whether health protection will be more important than privacy protection over the next few years – 39% agreed, 32% disagreed and the remainder were unsure.

In contrast last year, a higher proportion thought that the use of biometrics is growing too rapidly for existing controls to be effective (48%).  As with last year, those in Europe were the most likely to feel there is already sufficient legislation in place, with those in regions outside ANZ, Europe and the Americas more likely to feel the legislation is on balance not strict enough.

When asked specifically in which areas legislation should be tightened – policing/law enforcement; commercial uses; and social media and political use all topped the list, selected by around 60%.

Regarding the very public debate on whether a ban or moratorium on police use of face recognition is necessary, only around one in ten agreed, with a large majority of 64% disagreeing. This will be an important area for the Institute to continue engaging with key-decision makers and regulators. Our Should we ban Facial Recognition Viewpoint Paper is certainly a document that should be revisited.