Privacy issues and biometrics

Privacy issues and biometrics

Biometric data contains information acquired from individuals, which can be used to identify them. Therefore biometric data is always consider personally identifiable information (PII) requiring data protection.  If the biometric data is recorded in a central database, privacy concerns may be higher than for systems where an individual’s data is stored only on a personal device retained by the individual. Nevertheless, some biometric applications require a central database for their basic functionality.

Enrolees may be concerned that their biometric data could be used for other purposes than it was originally acquired; for example face image data might be used for surveillance purposes and fingerprint data checked against forensic databases, although there are legal limits to such uses. These concerns are at the heart of many objections to the use of biometrics.

In the UK, the Offices of the Information Commissioner, the Biometrics Commissioner ,and the Surveillance Commissioner  are each  responsible for monitoring various uses of biometric systems and for requiring that appropriate procedural and technical measures are deployed in accordance with applicable regulations and laws.

Read more about data protection

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