Biometrics Institute will launch international Biometrics Privacy Charter


The Biometrics Institute will launch its Biometrics Privacy Charter on the 30 November 2011 during its 7th Biometrics Institute Technology Showcase and Exhibition which will be held at Hotel Realm in Canberra, Australia. The Charter will then be made available to all members.

“This Biometrics Privacy Charter has been designed by the Biometrics Institute to provide a universal guide for suppliers, end users, managers and purchasers of biometric systems,” says Isabelle Moeller, General Manager of the Biometrics Institute, “it is the public’s assurance that the biometric managers have followed best practice privacy principles when designing, implementing and managing biometric based projects.”

The Charter is intended to be a guide across many different countries and jurisdictions. It takes into account the legislative and administrative frameworks of different countries but recognises that biometrics and information technologies do connect beyond national boundaries and across different fields as diverse as health records, border controls, consumer based applications in the telecommunications industry, banking and drivers licenses.

The Biometrics Privacy Charter is based on the principle that citizens, when providing their biometric, have a right to expect that those who design, implement and manage that biometric understand its unique value and are committed to a Charter that ensures best privacy practice in biometric design, policy and management.

The Biometrics Privacy Charter contains sixteen principles addressing issues such as Respect for Client Privacy, Proportionality, Informed Consent, Protection of Biometric Data Collected, Purpose, Accountability, Sharing of biometric data, Transmission of Biometric Data Beyond National Boundaries and Employee Biometric Data Must be Protected amongst others.
It also provides a checklist on how to Implement and Manage the Principles of this Privacy Charter.

The Biometrics Privacy Charter will be given to organisations joining the Biometrics Institute or renewing their membership to provide guidance for the implementation of biometric technologies. Members will be asked to indicate whether they support it. A review of the Charter will take place in a year’s time.

One of the Biometrics Institute key drivers is to encourage the responsible use and development of biometrics and privacy protection.

In September 2006, the Biometrics Institute Privacy Code – a first of its kind in the world – was registered with the Australian Privacy Commission and became part of Australian Privacy Legislation. It includes privacy standards that are at least equivalent to the Australian National Privacy Principles in the Australian Privacy Act. The Code is currently under review in light of the expected changes to the Australian Privacy Act.
The Biometrics Institute then launched a Privacy Awareness Checklist (PAC) in 2010 to assist members in a quick an easy way to assess privacy impacts when using biometrics. It provides a snapshot in time of where the organisation sits in regards to privacy.

The Biometrics Privacy Charter is an advance on the Code and the Privacy Awareness Checklist and is also international, comprehensible, useful and realistic.

The Biometrics Institute was established as an independent not-for-profit organisation in Australia in 2001 and is now operating at an international level with over 100 members. Its members cover a wide range of vendors, users such as banks, airlines, governments and law enforcement authorities as well as research organisations.

The Biometrics Institute’s constitution requires that vendors are represented on the Board but independence is assured by the majority control being vested in users. This guarantees independence from commercial control but assists vendors to act as good corporate citizens.

For enquiries or feedback on the Charter or free press passes for the Technology Showcase contact:
Isabelle Moeller | +44 20 7581 4827
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