Press Release: State of Biometrics Report highlights five key trends to monitor

07 October 2021: The Biometrics Institute yesterday launched the third edition of the State of Biometrics Report 2021 at this year’s opening session of the Congress. The Institute’s Future Direction Group has identified five significant topics to watch which the report outlines in more detail. They include:

  1. COVID-19 recovery, focusing on borders and travel, and verification for large events
  2. Digital identity, covering national identity frameworks, interoperability and re-use, self-sovereign digital identities, and ramifications in the real world
  3. Governance, which includes legislation, public perception and ethics, standards and testing, accessibility, and inclusion
  4. Commercial use of biometrics, looking at the benefits and risks in this growing area
  5. Future directions, which anticipates evolving use and technology developments

Isabelle Moeller, Chief Executive at the Biometrics Institute comments: “Our annual State of Biometrics Report comes at a time of flux. Some businesses are opening up, while in other parts of the world organisations cannot see a clear path forwards. In the last 12 months, face recognition has again dominated headlines and remote identification, contactless processing and digitised services have commanded focus. The report will be discussed throughout the Biometrics Institute Congress where over 60 expert presenters and the online audience have the opportunity to learn more about its content”.

While last year’s report looked at the COVID-19 response, this year’s report addresses the recovery assessing what international travel may look like and raising questions about the proof of health status or how to keep queues to a minimum. There are also questions about safe attendance at large events. There is still much to be resolved.

The report includes a chapter on digital identity management, which is dominating the agendas of many of the Institute’s members, looking at questions about interoperability, re-use and how to design identity frameworks whilst ensuring trust in the use of digital identities.

Whereas last year’s conversations were dominated by discussions on bans and moratoria of biometrics, this year’s report is highlighting more activity around governance, guidance, and legislation. Standards and testing have also advanced. Public perception of biometrics remains a critical issue and a balanced and informed discussion is essential.

A new chapter was added on the commercial use of biometrics. Technology is becoming increasingly prevalent across all areas of society. Aside from the benefits, such as providing high security and assurance, there are risks that we need to address and manage. Anyone can take a photo in a football stadium or outside US Congress for example and potentially run it against a massive database. Our face and voice are very much public property.

So, what is next? The report considers that more work is needed to develop standards for example with touchless fingerprint technology; anti-spoofing remains an important topic that is key to the Institute’s mission, especially as we are now seeing deepfakes that are extremely lifelike, and of course, there will be further discussions on digital identity frameworks.

About the Report

More information about the State of Biometrics Report here and other reports here.

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

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

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 220 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 and ethical use of biometrics. 

Christine Bowles

Lead the debate with us on the
responsible use of Biometrics