The annual FindBiometrics Year in Review survey is now open, offering industry insiders the opportunity to share their views on some of the most important issues facing the industry today. And among the most fraught of those topics is probably the question of whether industry professionals agree with the statement, “I am comfortable with the government’s use of biometrics in the country where I live.”
It’s a matter that has come to the force in recent years thanks in large part to government authorities’ use of facial recognition. In the U.S., controversy over the police use of this kind of biometric surveillance technology has intensified in 2020, with various municipalities enacting bans and moratoriums. In other countries, such as the U.K., the debate has been somewhat more subdued, depending on the regulatory and oversight measures in place.
But it isn’t just policing that has put government biometrics in the spotlight. The use of this technology by border authorities has also brought it into the headlines. An internal report from the Department of Homeland Security blamed U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s poor security practices for a breach of biometric data and other records, and this brought further scrutiny to the CBP during its ongoing expansion of its biometric border programs at airports and land borders.
All of this is making some people in the U.S. uncomfortable, but it’s nothing compared to the Chinese government’s extensive use of biometric surveillance. Reports emerged this year that authorities are going so far as to build a DNA database of China’s male citizens, and that the Ministry of Education brought facial recognition to university dorms – a move aimed at helping to prevent the spread of COVID, according to the authorities.
Answers to the Year in Review question about comfort with government use of biometrics are therefore likely to vary depending on what country each respondent is from. But what’s clear enough is that this is one of the issues that will be top of mind to many working in the industry, and the overall survey results are going to be fascinating.
Make sure your voice is heard by filling out the Year in Review survey today.
December 17, 2020 – The FindBiometrics Editorial Team