Biometrics Institute is calling on law enforcement agencies, border management, and governments to use existing good practices to ensure the responsible use of biometrics.
“Biometric technology has the potential to aid and accelerate identification when used carefully by trained humans, following proper processes and using the technology in the way it was originally intended,” said Biometrics Institute’s chief executive Isabelle Moeller.
“But it is vital that anyone using biometrics to identify individuals follows responsible and ethical guidelines to avoid people suffering from the consequences of the technology not being managed properly,” she added.
She believes that governments need to liaise effectively so that any potential suspect is interviewed discreetly and can potentially be eliminated from the inquiry immediately without undue publicity.
The Biometrics Institute is an independent international membership organization for biometric users established in 2001 to promote the responsible use of biometrics.
It has more than a thousand members from 240 membership organizations spread across 30 countries and represents a multi-stakeholder community including government agencies, biometric experts, privacy experts, suppliers, and academics.
In response to recent headlines around the misuse of facial recognition technology, the institute warned that if the technology is applied without properly addressing potential flaws, then regulators may opt to restrict usage until they – and industry – can ensure proper privacy protections.
“In the absence of international law and standards on biometrics, the Biometrics Institute has released a range of good practice guidelines to help organizations assess and implement responsible and ethical use in biometrics,” it said.
The guidelines have been compiled specifically for – and with the expertise of – the international member organization’s multi-stakeholder community, including Privacy Guidelines, Ethical Principles for Biometrics, Top Ten Vulnerability Questions and the United Nations Compendium of Recommended Practices for the Responsible Use and Sharing of Biometrics in Counter-Terrorism.
The institute has been working with the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) and the Office of Counter-Terrorism (OCT) since 2017 and was tasked to help compile the UN’s Compendium of Recommended Practices for the Responsible Use and Sharing of Biometrics in Counter-Terrorism, which was launched in 2018.
The compendium is a 96-page high-level overview of biometric technology and operating systems in the context of counter-terrorism.
It includes, among others, the governance and regulatory requirements for biometric technology from the perspectives on international law, human rights law, ethical reviews, data protection requirements, and the right to privacy.
It also outlines the potential vulnerabilities of biometric systems and some of the control measures that can be used to mitigate the risks as well as actions taken by authorities as a result of biometric matches.