informa
Quick Hits

UK Reconsidering Biometrics

Parliament is looking for answers about biometrics' privacy, security, future uses, and whether or not legislation is ready for what comes next.

Two years after the UK government decommissioned its controversial Iris Recognition Immigration System, Parliament has launched an inquiry into both the public and private sector's current and future uses of biometrics.

From the Parliament reference document:

    Commercial organisations, however, are starting to play a greater role in both developing and using biometric data and technologies. It is anticipated that this trend will continue over the next decade, particularly as the financial costs, and computational resources required, decrease. Some commercial uses are already mainstream. Social media sites offer facial recognition software to assist users tagging uploaded photos, while accessing some mobile phones depends on fingerprint recognition rather than entering a passcode. Supporters contend that technologies relying on biometric data have transformed identity authentication. However, concerns continue to be raised about data protection, loss of privacy and identity theft.

Though the IRIS system was shut down after eight years of use, the UK still uses biometric systems for e-passports and residence permits.

The Parliament Science and Technology Committee is seeking answers to questions about research and development priorities; potential uses of biometrics; the challenges of developing, implementing, and regulating biometric technology; and the effectiveness of current legislation in governing the ownership of biometric data and who can collect, store, and use it.

The deadline to submit comments to Parliament is Sep. 26.

Recommended Reading: