Press release: Biometrics Institute calls for a balanced discussion to demystify biometrics


24 July 2019: for immediate release

Privacy, data protection and legislation concerns dominate this year’s Biometrics Institute Industry Survey.

Nearly twice as many people who completed the annual survey said controls were not tight enough – 44%, as said they were – 24%. 32% of the industry professionals who took part weren’t sure.

However, answers to further questions revealed that the industry does not think stricter regulation of the biometrics industry would stifle innovation and investment. And overall, 82% said they felt very or quite optimistic about opportunities in 2019, with technology suppliers and North Americans particularly positive.

While just under half of respondents were Biometrics Institute members, there was a parity on views between members and non-members on most topics.

In its tenth year, the annual survey provides an insight into trends and developments in the biometrics industry over the last year as well as looking to the future. The results of the Industry Survey also provide insights into expectations for the coming year and industry attitudes on a number of key issues.

74% agreed that privacy concerns are holding back the market for biometrics. So it’s unsurprising then that when asked which area was restraining the market to the greatest extent privacy and data protection concerns dominated – 66% chose this option. Data sharing concerns came next with 43% of respondents saying these were restraining the market – up nearly 10% since last year. And 38% said poor knowledge of biometrics amongst decision makers are to blame for market restraints while 35% thought that misinformation about biometrics was an issue.

Privacy, data protection and ethics are clearly areas that resonate with the biometric community. In later questions, 56% agreed that there are too many instances of biometric use where informed consent hasn’t been properly obtained, up 10% from last year.

When asked where biometrics should not have been implemented the top responses were social media and school administration – each mentioned by 22%.

38% of the survey respondents agreed that the use of biometrics is growing too rapidly for existing controls to be effective – those in Australia and New Zealand were particularly of this view. A slightly lower proportion disagreed.

Isabelle Moeller, chief executive of the Biometrics Institute said, “Our annual survey is an opportunity for our members and others working in biometrics to share their views on the current trends and their projections for the future. The main findings confirm that a balanced and informed discussion about biometrics is more necessary than ever. Those who completed the survey clearly have questions about the current hot topics of legislation, privacy and data protection. We are facilitating ongoing discussions about the importance of rigorous processes, internal policies and the technology among our multi-stakeholder community and debating whether tougher legislation is the answer.

“The belief expressed in the survey that the spread of misinformation about biometrics is restraining the market is echoed in every one of our member meetings. We know our Congress in London in October will be a major meeting point where our multi-stakeholder community will thrash out these issues. We hope anyone with an interest in responsible and ethical use will join us for a balanced discussion and help shape the future of biometrics.”



The sample:

This survey was circulated by email to nearly 7000 individuals across the world in May 2019: all members of the Biometrics Institute, other key stakeholders and media contacts.

A record 453 individuals responded to the survey. Of those, just under half (45%) were members of the Biometrics Institute. There was a good response from across the global network.







Australia/New Zealand

USA/North America



Just under half (43%) of the respondents were from a supplier organisation, with the remainder (36%) predominantly biometric users such as government organisations, banks and airlines. The remaining 21% represented universities (8%) and other organisations such as regulators and international or European organisations like the  International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).


Further information:

The full report is only available to members. For further information on the survey findings, please contact


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.



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