Press release: Biometrics Institute celebrates 18th birthday


At a time when biometric technology is in the spotlight of privacy discussions, the Biometrics Institute is celebrating its 18th birthday – and promises big things for its 19th year. The institute, established 18 years ago this week to promote the responsible and ethical use of biometrics, has demonstrated an impressive track record. The membership organisation has grown into a global concern with a unique multi-stakeholder membership spanning 30 countries. This now makes it a key figure in shaping the responsible and ethical future of biometrics.

Later this month at its annual Congress in London, the institute will launch a work in progress with a working title of Biometrics Institute Good Practice Framework. This will be a major tool which outlines the stages of the strategic planning, procurement and operation of a biometric system or network and will provide a pathway through the factors that may influence a biometric application.

Our 2001 notice in The Australian newspaper

Our 2001 notice in The Australian newspaper

Founded in Australia on 11 October 2001, the institute counted the Australian Taxation Office, Department of Home Affairs, Federal Police and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade among its first members.

“The Biometrics Institute is now the equivalent of a mature adult with rights and responsibilities. We’ve been pretty serious about the responsible use of biometrics while we’ve been growing up, so now we’re 18 there’ll be no stopping us. At the last session of our Congress, we’ll be launching a new good practice tool to our members and asking for their feedback. The aim of the framework is to create a common understanding of biometric systems, the associated terminology and concepts. It will act as a guide through the process of establishing a biometric system, flagging potential vulnerabilities and considering R&D, emerging technologies and governance options. Our role now is to identify the gaps in good practice guidance and work with our members to address them.”

Chief executive Isabelle Moeller, who joined the institute as its manager in 2002.

Over its infancy and adolescence, the organisation’s biometrics community has grown to 240 member organisations comprising around a thousand members. These include government agencies like the UK Home Office, the US Department for Homeland Security and the Government Technology Agency of Singapore, as well as suppliers like Leidos and SITA and academics leading the study of biometrics around the world. It has released numerous guiding documents on biometrics good practice which it developed through an open and all-inclusive consultation process with members and key stakeholders.

“I hoped to create an organisation that brought everyone with an interest together to help drive the development of biometric technology, easier and more secure identification, as well as to foster innovation. The success of the institute speaks for itself – it is more global and connected than I ever dreamed it might be when we held our first small meeting in Sydney. The potential of biometrics will not be realised unless the public can trust those using the technology. We are now at a critical turning point where the institute’s voice is vital to the discussion around responsible use.”

Biometrics Institute founder Ted Dunstone, now head of the institute’s Security and Integrity Expert Group

The Good Practice Framework will be presented to members on the second day of Congress which runs from the 29-30 October. During the session, members will learn about good practices, see how to apply the framework using a biometric implementation scenario, and discuss the challenges it throws up.

This year’s Congress – the annual event which saw 300 delegates converging on London to discuss responsible use in 2018 – will be the institute’s staggering 426th event and is shaping up to be the biggest to date. Speakers include Paul Wiles, the UK’s biometrics commissioner, Bob Schukai, senior vice president at Mastercard, John Boyd, assistant director at the US Office of Biometrics Identity Management for the Department of Homeland Security and John Frank, vice president at new member Microsoft.

Notes to editors:

Visit our website to view a timeline of the key events in our history.

For more information on the Biometrics Institute Congress and Biometrics Week events, visit the Biometrics Institute website.

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 communications manager Claire Fox Baron:


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