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Biometrics Institute informs UK Parliament about Privacy Concerns

London, Thursday, 18 September 2014. The independent and international Biometrics Institute representing over 150 biometric users, academia and the industry has made a submission to the Science and Technology Committee of the UK government emphasing the need for guidance on privacy and vulnerability assessments for the responsible use of biometrics.

It responds to a call for submissions to an inquiry about the current and future use of biometrics data and technologies and whether legislation is effective to respond to the growing use of biometrics in commercial organisations and social media.

"The Biometrics Institute mission is to promote the responsible use of biometrics", explains Isabelle Moeller, the Institute's London-based Chief Executive, "it has a proven track-record of over 13 years in bringing together all parts of the biometrics industry to ensure privacy and data protection are at front of mind in any implementation of biometrics."

In its submission the Institute outlines various current and future uses of biometrics. It stresses the importance of informing the public that not all biometrics are the same and that they are not infallible. Managers of biometric systems should recognise this and it should be built into the planning and operations of any biometric system.

Ms Moeller states: "One of the major threats to privacy we see is the potential of re-purposing and function-creep and, especially, data linkage, both by governments and private companies. Robust data handling procedures and education are needed."

The Biometrics Institute has developed a universal Biometrics Institute Privacy Guideline as an essential guide on biometrics and privacy and recommends that before implementing any changes to legislation which impinge on the collection, storage or usage of individual personal data especially in relation to biometrics, the Committee goes beyond its standard examination of privacy regulations and legislation and reviews the Guideline.

"The Biometrics Institute has developed the Privacy Guideline as a practical guide for senior and middle management to plan for an effective privacy regime. We are happy to work with the Government using this and other tools that have been developed by the Institute" Ms Moeller said.

The Biometrics Institute was established as an independent not-for-profit organisation in Australia in 2001 and is now operating at an international level with over 150 members and offices in Sydney and London. Its members cover a wide range of vendors, users such as banks, airlines, governments and law enforcement authorities as well as research organisations.

The Biometrics Institute's constitution requires that vendors are represented on the Board but independence is assured by the majority control being vested in users. This guarantees independence from commercial control but assists vendors to act as good corporate citizens.

Discussion on the responsible use of biometrics in the public and private sector (e.g. payments, customer authentication, online government services, mobile applications and borders and travel) are being discussed at the upcoming Biometrics Institute events including Biometrics 2014: the future of identity starts here ! 21-23 October 2014 in London and Showcase Australia, 18 November 2014 in Canberra. Free press passes for accredited media are available upon request.

For enquiries or feedback or to find out more about the submission contact:
Isabelle Moeller | +44 20 7581 4827
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