Biometrics Institute discusses AI, Privacy and Ethics

On the Pulse Conversation about AI, biometrics, privacy and policy

15 September 2023

Biometrics Institute discusses AI, Privacy and Ethics

The Biometrics Institute hosted a recent On the Pulse Conversation to discuss AI, biometrics, privacy and ethics. The conversation was chaired by Darren Bark, Director & Deputy Chairman of the Biometrics Institute and moderated by the Head of the Privacy Expert Group (PEG), Terry Aulich.

Viewpoints were also presented by members Abbas Bigdeli, CEO at AerVision, Anna Convery-Pelletier, CMO at Jumio and Machiel van der Harst, co-founder and CEO at TECH5.

The impact of generative AI

Members discussed the impact of generative AI on the future of biometrics. They referred to the availability of freely available tools online that can generate and impersonate other people with video and voice, which will impact the way we use and adopt biometrics. Suppliers, users, and regulators need to take this into account when developing and implementing biometrics-based applications and policies. The Biometrics Institute’s Ethical Principles for Biometrics and Good Practice Framework (GPF) provide guidance to manage risk when implementing biometrics.

The risks of AI and deepfakes

Others expressed concern that AI and deepfake technologies could accelerate identity fraud. However, they also acknowledged that AI can be used to improve the accuracy and performance of biometric systems. They emphasised the need to make it harder for bad people to do bad things, and that using AI and biometrics can help offset the risks.

If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it must be a…

With the proliferation of deepfakes, you cannot take what you see for granted. The ability to replicate a person’s appearance and voice is a radical change with the ability to influence media and destroy reputations. The Institute’s Privacy Guidelines  addresses the right to correction and organisations should make it easier for people to check what reputational damage has been done by misuse of biometrics or deepfakes.

Regulation should be predictable, reliable, and consistent

As biometric technologies develop rapidly, nearly 6/10 Industry Survey respondents believe policy and regulation will not keep pace with data protection needs. And while governments and policy makers develop strategies, panellists discussed the need for guidelines to ensure accountability, especially where voluntary standards apply in some countries versus mandatory regulations such as the new EU AI act that will apply in other areas.

The importance of trust and ethics

‚ÄúParticipants nominated public trust and ethical behaviour as the vital components for dealing with new technologies such as artificial intelligence. The Institute‚Äôs Privacy Guidelines and Ethical Principles for Biometrics will assist with these goals.‚ÄĚ Terry Aulich, Head, Privacy Expert Group (PEG), Biometrics Institute

Trust begins with education and providing advice and evidence of what is acceptable. The Institute‚Äôs Biometrics Essentials learning tool is an educational overview based on ethics and good practices. And when considering AI, privacy and ethics, if there‚Äôs one question everyone should ask it‚Äôs ‚Äúhow often does your company formally discuss privacy?‚ÄĚ Because privacy is for all, and the Institute has the resources needed to not only start those conversations, but to take them forward and perform best practice across sectors.

The On the Pulse Conversation

The On the Pulse Conversation is a forum for honest discussion about biometrics. It aims to dispel myths and misconceptions about biometrics, by bringing together stakeholders to share insights and best practices.


About the Biometrics Institute:

The Biometrics Institute is the independent and impartial international membership organisation for biometric users and other interested parties. It was established in 2001 to promote the responsible and ethical use of biometrics and has offices in London and Sydney.

The member register which represents a global and diverse multi-stakeholder community now lists over 200 membership organisations from 34 countries. It includes banks, airlines, government agencies, biometric experts, privacy experts, suppliers, academics and 10 Observers representing United Nations agencies, IGOs and European Union institution.

The Biometrics Institute connects the global biometrics community. It shares knowledge with its members and key stakeholders and most importantly, develops good practices and thought leadership for the responsible, ethical and effective use of biometrics.

For more information, please email Marco Lombardi.


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