The Biometrics Institute has shared the results of its 11th annual Industry Survey, which revealed that the majority of people (60 percent) believe that COVID-19 will fundamentally alter the way in which biometric technology is used and deployed moving forward. The respondents echoed other organizations in predicting that the virus will motivate technology providers to turn their attention to contactless and remote solutions, and to tweak existing facial recognition software to account for people wearing masks.
The Institute then insisted that any new technology should be developed with the proper respect for people’s civil liberties. Industry professionals named mass surveillance and misidentification as the public’s biggest concerns about the expansion of biometric technology, with 68 percent agreeing that any police use of biometrics would need to be proportionate and limited in scope.
“COVID-19 is a game changer for the industry,” said Biometrics Institute CEO Isabelle Moeller.
“This month we’ll be launching our Good Practice Framework to guide our members through the process of implementing or reviewing biometric technology responsibly and ethically. This release will be especially useful as the industry navigates new waters together.”
Despite those ethical concerns, the Institute did acknowledge that some privacy concessions might need to be made to ensure the health and safety of civilians. Sixty-three percent of the respondents identified privacy and data protection as the two things that were most severely hindering the continued growth of the biometrics market. Meanwhile, a whopping 89 percent argued that the industry needs to do a better job of educating the public about the benefits of biometric tech in order to create more opportunities in the future.
The Industry Survey was conducted in May, and reflects the opinions of 326 international biometrics industry professionals. The Institute itself previously published seven ethical principles for the responsible use of biometric tech, and released an earlier version of the Good Practice Framework in October.
July 2, 2020 – by Eric Weiss