The Biometrics Institute, an independent, international and impartial patron in the biometrics market will discuss the increase in consumer biometric applications with key stakeholders, including the Information Commissioner’s Office in the coming months to better determine where mainstream consumers should place their trust in biometrics.
The Institute believes that more awareness is necessary to ensure the responsible use of biometrics as well as to pave the way for a successful future for the industry. Few would argue that Apple’s use of fingerprint biometrics in the iPhone 5S is perhaps the most popular implementation of biometrics available, but consumer biometrics are making a splash across the pond as well.
UK supermarket chain, Tesco has introduced facial detection – not recognition – systems at gas stations scattered throughout the country. Tesco’s solution, however, is yet another example of the public interacting with new technology without fully understanding what is happening.
“While Tesco is saying that currently images, pictures or personal data of customers are not being recorded or captured, there is a very small step from detection and categorization to recognition,” says Isabelle Moeller, chief executive of the Biometrics Institute. “The main concern is that personal data could be collected without prior consent of the individual. The key privacy principle that must be observed is the principle of informed customer consent.”
More troubling is the lack of disclosure regarding the biometrics solution. As of yet, the Biometrics Institute has heard no mention of warnings to people who have been scanned, no explanation of the purpose for the scanning or about how the scans will be used in the future. In the even that this is true, the biometric scans are not only being obtained without consent – a fundamental principle of legislation the world over – but also harbors further skepticism toward biometrics technology.
Nevertheless, the recent Biometrics Institute Industry Survey 2013 predicts that the adoption of biometrics by the mainstream public is the next major development for the industry. This adoption includes the use of biometrics on mobile phones, for financial transactions or physical access control to a car or building.
Where, then, should the public place its trust when these biometric solutions come to the consumer market?
The Institute believes that many lessons have been learned from government applications of biometrics, not the least of which have been those used for passports and border control systems. The Biometrics Institute strives to provide a forum for its members, private and public alike, to share lessons learned and to promote best practices.
To aid its cause, The Biometrics Institute will be holding several events, including the “Technology Showcase Australia” on the Nov. 26 in Canberra, Australia.