Biometrics Institute launches first universal privacy guidelines for biometrics


EMBARGOED: 00:01 AEST (Sydney), Monday 13 May 2019


At the start of Privacy Awareness Week, the Biometrics Institute has released the latest update to its Privacy Guidelines. For the first time, these good practice guidelines include the significant international implications introduced by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), applied to biometrics.

Every two years, the Biometrics Institute updates its Privacy Guidelines to make sure they reflect global changes in technology or legislation which impacts privacy. They are the result of extensive monitoring and consultation by its Privacy and Policy Expert Group, which comprises a broad spectrum of privacy specialists from around the globe.

“Biometrics technology and its applications are growing exponentially. In the last two years, privacy and what is meant by informed consent has gone under the spotlight. Whether you’re a supplier, researcher, operator, purchaser, manager or controller of biometric systems, it’s never been more important to protect privacy and to act ethically with people’s data. Our 2019 guidelines are the first comprehensive, universal privacy guidelines for biometrics.”

Isabelle Moeller, Chief Executive, Biometrics Institute

The guidelines, first introduced to Biometrics Institute members in 2006, are made up of 16 principles ranging from non-discrimination to maintaining a strong privacy environment. They also contain a methodology to make planning, implementing and managing them straightforward, regardless of members’ maturity in using biometrics.

In March, The Biometrics Institute launched its Ethical Principles for Biometrics to guide its members – and the wider biometrics community – to act ethically, in the absence of international law. Its revised Privacy Guidelines reflect that emphasis on ethical action.

The 2019 update has taken into account developments including:

  • The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
  • The increased reach and collection of personal data by social media platforms
  • The growth of artificial intelligence, drones and more sophisticated facial recognition systems
  • The widespread use of biometrics in border control, telecommunications, security and food and medical distribution in displaced persons groups

The guidelines cover:

  • Redress and complaints by people who have suffered discrimination, humiliation or damage as a result of biometric-related systems
  • Stronger privacy protection for data collection by automated systems, especially for minors and those with disabilities
  • Advice on managing subcontractors
  • The role of audits and privacy impact assessments
  • Managing data breaches
  • The right of citizens to have their biometric and record amended or deleted

“The latest upgrade to our Privacy Guidelines is the first since the introduction of GDPR. We have deliberately incorporated major parts of the world’s most comprehensive privacy law into our own guidelines for biometrics. Our 2019 Privacy Guidelines will help organisations to approach privacy protection with greater effectiveness.”

Terry Aulich, head of the Biometrics Institute’s Privacy and Policy Expert Group

The Biometrics Institute is launching its updated Privacy Guidelines in Privacy Awareness Week (13-17 May) whose 2019 theme is Protecting privacy is everyone’s responsibility.

The head of the Biometrics Institute’s Privacy Expert Group, Terry Aulich, will be discussing these issues further at the institute’s Asia-Pacific Conference in Sydney on 22 May.




Biometrics Institute Asia-Pacific Conference in Sydney

Ethical Principles for Biometrics  


Notes to editors:

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 use of biometrics and has offices in London and Sydney.

With more than a thousand members from 240 membership organisations spread across 30 countries, it represents a global and diverse multi-stakeholder community. This includes banks, airlines, government agencies, biometric experts, privacy experts, suppliers and academics.

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 and ethical use of biometrics.

For more information, please email Claire Fox Baron:


Lead the debate with us on the
responsible use of Biometrics