Press release: Biometrics Institute launches Three Laws of Biometrics and State of Biometrics Report to open 2020 Online Congress

The Biometrics Institute launched the brand new Three Laws of Biometrics and its 2020 State of Biometrics Report in the opening session of its first online Congress today.

Inspired by Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, the biometrics industry member organisation has devised the Three Laws of Biometrics as a prompt to remember the fundamentals of using biometric technology responsibly and ethically.

The three laws are:

  1. POLICY – comes first: Any use of biometrics is proportionate, with basic human rights, ethics and privacy at its heart.


  1. PROCESS – follows policy: Safeguards are in place to ensure decisions are rigorously reviewed, operations are fair and operators are accountable.


  1. TECHNOLOGY – guided by policy and process: Know your algorithm, biometric system, data quality and operating environment and mitigate vulnerabilities, limitations and risks.

The laws – or the PPT of biometrics – should be used as a checklist to guide organisations in their implementations, and crucially in the order in which tasks should be carried out. Policy first, then process and only when robust review of those initial steps has taken place should the requisite technology be appropriately explored.

Isabelle Moeller, Biometrics Institute chief executive said, ‘These two documents underpin the themes of this year’s Congress. We want our members and everyone using biometric technology to ask with every application, “Just because we can, should we?” – thoroughly assessing each use case and the impact on its users. We are calling on the biometrics community to ensure the technology continues to serve us responsibly and ethically, not exploit us. We hope that the Three Laws of Biometrics will be an easy reminder of the principles anyone operating in this space should hold.’

The Biometrics Institute Congress is the institute’s flagship conference held in London every October. This year, the usual two-day event has been transformed into eight interactive online sessions across October, featuring some of the biggest names in biometrics.

Building on the foundations of its first State of Biometrics Report last year, the institute’s Future Direction Group has led the project, identifying five key developments from the last 12 months and how it envisages those issues to impact the industry in the next 12 months. The five topics it picked out are COVID-19, legislative controls, demographic differentials, awareness and public perceptions and digital identity.

A panel of experts, including James Dipple Johnstone – Deputy Commissioner at the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), discussed the state of biometrics and some of the contents of the report this morning. The discussion followed opening keynotes from Wojciech Wiewiórowski, the European Data Protection Supervisor and Kenneth Gantt, Deputy Director at the Office of Biometric Identity Management from the US Department of Homeland Security,

The report is available to members on the institute’s website.

Anyone wishing to join the remaining three days of Congress can register now and will receive the recording of the first day’s sessions.



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:





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