The International Biometrics + Identity Association has appointed Robert Tappan as its new Managing Director.
Tappan brings to the role considerable experience and connections from Washington. He served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs at the U. S. Department of State from 2002 to 2006, and as Director of Strategic Communications for Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Baghdad in 2004 during the Iraq War.
Tappan also has considerable communications experience from the private sector. He served as President of the PR firm Burson-Marsteller’s Washington, D.C., office, and from 2012 to 2014 he was the Director of External Relations for Koch Industries, a major fossil fuels conglomerate that has lobbied extensively against environmental regulations.
In a statement announcing his appointment, the IBIA highlighted Tappan’s “expert-level knowledge and leadership in issues management, marketing, and reputation management efforts”.
The organization went on to explain that in his new role, Tappan’s “paramount objective is sustaining IBIA as the leading advocate for the biometrics industry,” adding that he will represent the “voice” of the organization as it represents the biometrics industry “on critical topics of the day to the media.” That will surely include the topic of facial recognition, which has come under intense scrutiny in recent years, leading to Facebook’s decision this month to discontinue its use in “tagging” individuals in social media images – even as the company insisted upon some of the benefits of the technology this area and other applications.
Tappan is also expected to influence the development of legislation and regulatory policies that affect the biometrics industry, and, more broadly, to educate policymakers as well as the public about biometric technology.
“Rob’s experience and communications skills are critical to enlightening people about biometrics and identity management as our industry rapidly evolves,” explained IBIA Board Chairman John Mears.
Commenting on his appointment, Tappan said he is “humbled and delighted” to join the organization, and gestured to the growth trajectory of the biometrics industry. “We are seeing the growth of more and more biometric and security technologies, and the development of important new applications,” he said. “I am proud to be a part of leading this organization into the year 2022 and the future.”
November 9, 2021 – by Alex Perala