Comparitech has released a comprehensive report that evaluates the pervasiveness of biometric technology in 50 different countries. The report rated the countries based on their use (or non-use) of various technologies, as well as the legal protections those countries put in place to protect the privacy of their citizens.
Each country was assigned a numerical score (out of 25) based on its performance in five different categories, worth five points each. The first category looked at whether or not the country met certain yes/no criteria (for instance, every country used biometric security in its banking system). The others looked at the extent to which biometric tech had been integrated into CCTV surveillance programs, national databases, visa programs, and the workplace.
Generally speaking, Asian countries received high scores, which indicated a high level of biometric intrusion. European countries had lower scores thanks in large part to the EU’s GDPR regulations. However, the EU will be creating a massive biometric database as part of the Schengen Entry/Exit program, which is why the lowest scores belonged to European countries like Ireland (11 out of 25) and Cyprus (12 out of 25) that are not part of the EU itself.
The highest score unsurprisingly belonged to China, which received 24 out of a possible 25 points. The country has steadily upped its efforts to gather the biometric data of its citizens and people visiting the country. It also has an extensive CCTV surveillance program with facial recognition capabilities.
It is worth noting that the U.S. didn’t score much better. While some states and cities have passed privacy legislation (or banned facial recognition), those laws do not apply at the Federal level and do not offer any protection to many Americans. Biometric technology is widespread and available to law enforcement organizations and government agencies.
EU countries had lower scores because they offer better workplace protections than countries like China and the U.S. Even so, no country had a perfect record, and the broader trend suggests that biometric tech has become more widely accepted over the past few years.
December 6, 2019 – by Eric Weiss