March 6, 2014 – by Peter B. Counter
The European Association for Biometrics (EAB) announced yesterday that it has unanimously elected Bernard Didier as the organization’s first honorary member. The vote was held at the EAB’s general assembly on February 12, and Mr. Didier accepted the ubiquitous honor.
Known in the biometrics community as the founder of global biometrics company Morpho (Safran) in 1982, the now retired Didier is being recognized as a significant contributor to the strong authentication industry with this title.
“We are happy and honored that Mr. Didier accepted our nomination to become the EAB’s first Honorary Member,” says EAB chair, Alexander Nouak. “For us it is an important encouragement to proceed with building a strong and competitive biometrics industry in Europe, taking into account that this technology should be deployed at a responsible manner. The EAB, now counting almost 130 members within its short existence, can only hope that more honorary members of the level of Mr. Didier can be added to our Hall of Fame.”
The honor accepted by Didier comes with praise of not only the many contributions Morpho has made to the biometrics industry under his leadership, but also his work in the fight for responsible security practices.
In order to illustrate this aspect of the man, the EAB quotes him as saying:
“Like any technology, the use of biometrics is not intrinsically good or bad; the real challenge is to strike a balance between freedom and security. It’s the role of governments and personal rights organizations to set up regulations allowing governments and business to use this technology correctly.”
After a year that held such incredibly high profile privacy infringements on the public by government programs such as PRISM, and the recently revealed Yahoo! webcam surveillance by GCHQ as part of its “Optic Nerve” operation, security technologies have become controversial. The attitude displayed by Didier in the selected quote not only illustrates why he is an excellent first pick as an honorary member of EAB, but it serves as an example of the kind of attitude that can bring biometrics as far as Morpho continually drives to.