Biometrics Institute releases updated Privacy Awareness Checklist

Biometrics Institute releases updated Privacy Awareness Checklist

The Biometrics Institute has released its updated Privacy Awareness Checklist, to help members of the Institute work through critical privacy issues right from the start of their biometric journey, and to remind them to treat privacy as a key issue in their organisation.

The Privacy Awareness Checklist (PAC) was first published in 2013. As with all its guiding material, the Institute conducts regular reviews of its guiding material to ensure they stay relevant and that any global changes in technology or legislation are reflected. The checklist is the result of extensive consultation by the Institute’s Privacy and Policy Expert Group (PEG) who engaged with other groups and key stakeholders to ensure that it covers a broad range of issues for different countries, jurisdictions, and sectors.

“Biometric technology continues to develop at pace, affecting a growing number of organisations worldwide,” says Isabelle Moeller, Chief Executive of the Biometrics Institute. “To aid members, the checklist is designed to be a simple and concise resource to raise awareness of privacy concerns whilst being universally useable. It encourages organisations to discuss their Personal Information processing, assess risks and threats, consider privacy awareness and training, and maintain a strong privacy and data protection environment.”

The membership organisation is launching its updated Privacy Awareness Checklist in Privacy Awareness Week (2-8 May 2022) whose theme this year is ‘Privacy: The foundation of trust’.

“Trust is at the centre of everything we do with biometrics,” adds The Hon Terry Aulich, Head of the PEG, “and it is an organisation’s responsibility to treat biometric data responsibly and ethically. The PAC will be an extremely useful tool to work through key considerations for biometrics and privacy.”

The Institute provides a range of good practice material to help guide its members, and the updated checklist references and is aligned to its Good Practice Framework and Privacy Guidelines.

The Biometrics Institute’s Privacy and Policy Expert Group comprises members from many countries and sectors and includes government privacy authorities, academics, social media organisations and legal experts.

Biometrics Institute celebrates 20-year anniversary

Biometrics Institute celebrates 20-year anniversary

The Biometrics Institute, the independent and impartial international membership organisation for biometric users and other interested parties, today celebrates its 20-year anniversary.

Established in 2001 to promote the responsible use of biometrics, the Institute’s mission has remained unchanged since its foundation, and this has become a widely accepted term. It’s founding members include the Australian Department of Home Affairs, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, Australian Taxation Office, and the Australian Federal Police.

The Institute currently has over 220 membership organisations from 34 countries and enjoys support from banks, airlines, government agencies, biometric experts, privacy experts, suppliers, academics, United Nations agencies, IGOs and European Union institutions.

“We are very excited to mark the 20-year anniversary of the Biometrics Institute. This has provided us with the opportunity to showcase how Biometrics Institute Members have recognised the challenges and worked towards good practices to ensure responsible and ethical implementation”, said Isabelle Moeller, Chief Executive, Biometrics Institute.

The Institute’s Founder, Ted Dunstone added: “We are only at the beginning of the significant transformation that our industry is going to see. There is a lot more work to be done especially in those areas where biometrics are unregulated. As biometric technology development and adoption continues to move at high-speed, the Institute has created a strong basis for its community to address challenges for privacy and policy in a timely manner. We will continue to raise the bar and bring together diverse stakeholders to have a balanced discussion about what good biometrics use should look like.”

The Institute is celebrating its membership and impact with a special 20-year anniversary report to be launched at its Biometrics Institute Congress on the 13 October highlighting how biometrics have made a positive contribution to our world in the areas of privacy and policy; technology innovation; research and development; applications and case studies.


Digital identity ‘a significant biometric development’

Digital identity ‘a significant biometric development’

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.