The Biometrics Institute has issued seven ethical principles meant to serve as a guideline for how contemporary biometrics technology should be deployed.
The list of principles begins with a bit of a tautology – “Ethical behaviour” – and goes on to include “Ownership of the biometric and respect for individuals’ personal data”, “Serving humans”, “Justice and accountability”, “Promoting privacy-enhancing technology”, “Recognising dignity of individuals and families”, and “Equality”.
The ethical principles echo somewhat those of Google, whose CEO laid out a similar stance with respect to Artificial Intelligence – a key component of contemporary biometric systems – almost a year ago. And they come after a number of other major tech groups and companies have issued calls for government regulation of AI and biometrics, with facial recognition being a particular focal point.
The Biometrics Institute’s guidelines are the product of its Privacy Expert Group, and while they’re timely, they’re arguably a little late in arriving given that the Biometrics Institute was founded in 2001 with a mission “to promote the responsible and ethical use of Biometrics and Biometric Analytics as an independent and impartial international forum for Biometric users and other interested parties,” as the organization says on its website. But biometric technology has come a long way over the past several years, and it would have been hard to imagine the kinds of consumer-facing applications and public surveillance deployments we’re seeing now back in the early oughts.
A copy of the Biometrics Institute’s guidelines can be downloaded from the organization’s website.
March 28, 2019 – by Alex Perala