From humble beginnings in 2001, the Biometrics Institute has developed into a key global forum for the exchange of information relating to biometrics. Starting with a reputation for providing quality events that bring thought leaders and practitioners together, the Institute has moved also to being a policy and procedural leader for governments, private sector and community organisations seeking to use biometrics to meet a range of their business and day-to-day activities. These days, the Institute is positioned on the global stage, its members representing all regions of the world and its Board reflecting the shared engagement of governments, business and academia in furthering the responsible and ethical use of biometrics. For those of us working in organisations that use biometrics, it is been a great help over the years when faced with a business challenge to be able to reach into the Institute and find peers across the world faced with similar challenges and able to offer ideas for their solution. The next 20 years promises to be as successful. 

Andrew Rice, Regional Director, Pacific, Australian Department of Home Affairs

I have a strong commitment to sharing best practice usage and knowledge of biometrics technology to ensure its responsible and ethical use. The Biometrics Institute is the pre-eminent international forum which brings together users, suppliers, regulators, privacy experts and academics in the biometrics field. This melting pot of experts is a critical forum to ensure that biometrics are harnessed ethically and are used to benefit all, particularly minorities and vulnerable cohorts.   

Having seen the benefits of biometric technology in the law enforcement, Justice, and community sectors, it is critical that forums such as the Biometrics Institute lead and guide biometric usage and implementation Рsomething the Institute has been doing successfully for two decades.   

The Institute continues to benefit the global community by driving critical thought and development in biometrics technology, particularly in privacy and policy, digital identity, security and integrity and research and innovation.  

With such exciting developments, the Institute continues to be the most effective platform, with global reach, to further my social responsibility, and our social contract to foster ethical innovation.

My vision is for the Biometrics Institute to continue to be the trusted voice on biometrics, especially in the setting of global standards and best practice. This will ensure better and more coordinated integration between industry and Government to enable more consistent application of responsible biometric principles.  

Darren Bark, Deputy Chairman & Director, Biometrics Institute and Chief Executive Officer, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, Australia

APO is proud to be a founding member of the Biometrics Institute.  We have benefitted immensely from the Institute’s insights, and the close working relationships it has helped us forge with key agencies in the biometrics field. We want to acknowledge the Biometrics Institute’s tremendous contributions over the past 20 years and congratulate it on reaching this important anniversary.  The APO looks forward to working closely with you for the next 20 years!

Australian Passport Office

I have been a member of the Biometrics Institute for 3 years and have had the opportunity to engage with other members on our joint mission to promote the responsible and ethical use of biometrics through thought-leadership and good-practice guidance.

The Institute brings together expertise from across the globe which has been extremely beneficial for the Australian Government’s Digital Identity program. Sharing lessons around policy and application for various use cases helps us inform the implementation of biometrics in a local context as we deliver better experiences for Australians and businesses.  

The Biometrics Institute offers valuable resources to anyone with an interest in biometrics as we continue to navigate new technologies and approaches to improve customer experience.

Jonathon Thorpe, Director, Biometrics Institute and General Manager Whole of Government Governance and Sourcing Division, Australian Digital Transformation Agency (DTA)

The Institute has¬†enabled¬†its members¬†to have knowledge and understanding of biometrics to feel comfortable¬†and more confident¬†about adopting biometrics.¬†¬†As a¬†result,¬†I believe,¬†the¬†Institute¬†has been¬†a catalyst for allowing¬†the industry to grow responsibly.¬†¬†When we started the¬†Institute in 2001, biometrics was still very niche.¬†It was in¬†some¬†passports¬†and some people had seen it in¬†movies,¬†but¬†most¬†people had no idea that it¬†wasn’t¬†science fiction. Now, 20 years later,¬†it’s¬†everywhere: on¬†our phones,¬†used in¬†government services¬†and¬†it would be fair to say that a good percentage of the world’s population has¬†encountered¬†biometrics in one form or another.¬†The Institute has been there for¬†much of¬†that journey, in all sorts of ways,¬†working with development agencies like the¬†UN¬†agencies¬†and law enforcement as well as big corporates and social media.¬†

Isabelle Moeller, Chief Executive, Biometrics Institute

The Institute¬†has¬†provided the one place to meet¬†and¬†if¬†you’re¬†new to biometrics you could connect with a knowledgeable community where you¬†could¬†learn from others¬†and receive¬†information.¬†You are not alone.¬†There are so many¬†amazing¬†and passionate people that¬†I¬†have¬†worked with¬†at the Institute¬†starting with the various Board Directors and Committee Members but also the membership overall who attended so many of our events. We have¬†built these amazing foundations,¬†and the¬†Institute has¬†accomplished¬†so much¬†in its 20 years.¬†But¬†in reality, I¬†believe¬†we are¬†only¬†just¬†at the¬†beginning¬†of this journey¬†with¬†the¬†significant¬†transformations that biometrics and identity¬†are¬†bringing to the world.¬†¬†To date biometrics¬†has been¬†a¬†largely unregulated¬†space¬†and¬†that is changing¬†as¬†it is¬†becoming much more mainstream.¬†New legal frameworks¬†are¬†being discussed,¬†biometric¬†commissioners¬†are being¬†setup¬†and the¬†EU¬†GDPR¬†and other legislation¬†that¬†addresses biometrics¬†introduced.¬†¬†The¬†value of a place like the Institute¬†can be¬†to¬†assist¬†those¬†who¬†write¬†these¬†new¬†rules¬†to¬†get them right,¬†wherever¬†they are in¬†the world.¬†Evenif¬†onecountry¬†gets¬†it¬†wrong¬†itcancreate¬†huge¬†problems.¬†The¬†Institute¬†canhelp¬†these¬†changes¬†by¬†providing¬†the guidance and information to those regulators writing the regulation to ensure that biometrics will be used responsibly and ethically.

Ted Dunstone, Founder, Biometrics Institute and Head, Biometrics Institute Security and Integrity Expert Group and Managing Director, Biometix

I would posit that the approach to biometrics delivery and oversight for policing and criminal justice purposes in Scotland safeguards our biometric future by following the ‚ÄėThree Laws of Biometrics‚Äô advocated by the Biometrics Institute. In jurisdictions where the use of biometric technologies has proved more controversial, these rules have sometimes been overlooked, and technology has not been adequately guided by policy and process.

Brian Plastow, Scottish Biometrics Commissioner

The Institute plays a remarkable and invaluable role facilitating the ethical development and use of biometrics ‚Äď not as an end in itself, but as a means to better public policy and industry outcomes.¬† I‚Äôm proud that my organisation, as a founding member, has contributed to the Institute‚Äôs work from the outset.

Stephen Gee, Australian Passport Office

On the 20-year birthday of the Biometrics Institute, we at Entrust are proud to be active members, joining with industry partners to promote the responsible use of biometrics for the public good. We believe that, with proper legal safeguards, whether we’re accessing services at home or crossing international borders, biometrics will continue to improve all our lives as citizens.

Jon Payne, Director Strategic Alliances, Identity Verification, Entrust

Biometric applications are neither value-free nor neutral in their impact. The challenge in refining the biometrics eco-system therefore lies with harnessing a deeper appreciation of the way in which biometric applications benefit society.  Working together with policymakers and society in creating a digital society is therefore essential.  The Biometrics Institute community has considered not just who provides the biometric but crucially who has access to it and for what purpose precisely.  Meeting that challenge is as valid today as 20 years ago.

Juliet Lodge, Member of the Privacy Expert Group, Biometrics Institute

From humble beginnings in Sydney Australia, the Institute has grown with the industry and become multinational, finally basing itself in London but retaining its office in Sydney.  It has been one of the great unsung stories of the modern IT era and we look forward to many more years and more organisations realising that fact and taking advantage of all that the Institute offers.

Terry Aulich, Head of the Privacy Expert Group, Biometrics Institute

In the light of recent developments, the biometrics industry now stands at something of a crossroads. It can continue to develop and test products on what is a captive population in schools, with minimal attention paid to the social consequences of their long-term use. Alternatively, it can decide to involve stakeholders much more closely in the development of products, through collaborative development approaches that involve significantly less commercial secrecy, so proper scrutiny can take place, and products can be revised and adapted as appropriate. By stakeholders, this should mean pupils, teachers and parents, rather than finance departments or senior management teams who might be involved in high-level procurement. There also need to be more extensive training populations, in order to take into account diverse cultural and racial backgrounds, as well as any special educational needs. This builds on the Biometrics Institute’s policy of appropriate use, providing for an ethical approach to technological tools which are having increasingly profound social consequences.

Sandra Leaton Gray, Member of the Privacy Expert Group, Biometrics Institute and UCL Institute of Education     

One of the best forums we were able to be a part of was the Biometrics Institute.  As the Institute turns 20 years old this year it reminds me of how critical it was for us to reach out internationally.  Being a member of the Biometrics Institute gave us access to like-minded governments, technology companies, scientists and academics and discussion groups that gave us a platform to explain to the world what biometrics did to improve the security of the United States.

US-VISIT is now the Office of Biometrics and Identity Management (OBIM) and its senior leaders and many of the professional women and men of OBIM are active members of the Biometrics Institute.  As the use of biometrics continues to evolve and new modalities and technologies are created it is my hope that the Biometrics Institute will also evolve and grow the services it offers to its members. From its association with the United Nations to the publication of the Three Laws of Biometrics and the Good Practice Framework I suspect that 20 years from now there will be someone in the biometrics field today or in the future who will want to offer a similar tribute to the Biometrics Institute.

Robert A. Mocny, Former Director of the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology Program (Retired) and Member of the Advisory Council, Biometrics Institute

For 20 years the Institute has provided access to global expertise on biometrics from the technical, academic, privacy and user perspectives, as well as unparalleled networking opportunities for professionals who are involved with this technology.

It’s important to acknowledge the value we all get from the Expert and Sector Groups that the Institute maintains. Much of that value is hard to quantify. These groups produce papers and products for members that explain important concepts and that help us to maximise the benefits and manage the risks that accompany use of this technology. They are also invaluable information sharing opportunities, where members with similar interests get to talk about their challenges and their successes, and inevitably, members continue to interact offline to focus further on areas of common interest.

Paul Cross, Director, Biometrics Institute and Head of Border Management Sydney Practice, SITA   

The Institute has done a remarkable job in providing thought leadership as to the effective, responsible use of biometrics to solve real world problems. Its content-rich events and communications have fostered an open and constructive dialogue among users and suppliers which has helped usher biometrics into the mainstream as an effective component of mission-critical security systems.

Rich Agostinelli, Member of the Advisory Council, Biometrics Institute

I have been impressed by the way that the Biometrics Institute has grown from an Australia-based organisation to extend to the European continent, North America and elsewhere and has established itself as an influential body advising such organisations as the UN.  I very much support the principal focus on promoting the responsible use of biometric recognition rather than on the technology itself. This is vital for the protection of the users and for public acceptance. Awareness of some of the concerns has been highlighted in recent work by NIST and is also being reflected in current and developing international standards on biometric information protection, application security and security evaluation, privacy, and demographic bias.  

Philip Statham, Biometrics Consultant

The establishment of the Biometrics Institute twenty years ago reflected a broader need to understand a world in which digital technology was playing an increasingly influential role in daily life. At about the same time in 2003, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) adopted specifications for electronic machine-readable travel documents (eMRTD or ePassport) that are digitally-enhanced documents that contain an embedded chip, which holds both biographic information and a photo. The ICAO guidance material and specifications found in Doc. 9303 laid the foundation on which an extensive system of infrastructure could build. Beginning with Belgium in 2004, successive governments began issuing ICAO-compliant ePassports. By 2013, over 100 countries issued ePassports and nearly 400 million were in circulation worldwide.[1] As of 2020, 145 countries issue ePassports and there are roughly 1 billion in circulation.

Implementation Capacity Building Working Group (ICBWG), International Civil Aviation Organisation

Alongside diligently managing the risks, UNHCR will continue to explore how the responsible and ethical use of biometrics can improve the way it serves and benefits the lives of the people it seeks to protect.¬†UNHCR holds ‚ÄėInternational Observer‚Äô status with the Biometrics Institute and has contributed to a number of Institute events and products over its history, including the recent Good Practice Framework.

UNHCR The UN Refugee Agency

With the growing potential for biometrics, independent organisations such as the Biometrics Institute were essential in the process – connecting all stakeholders and providing a platform to exchange innovative ideas as well as concerns.

Georg Hasse, Head of International Sales, Secunet Security Networks AG

We should all be very proud with the Institute acting as a guardian for ethical use. It has played a significant part in forcing evolution through institutes like NIST and ISO to better functionality, performance, reduce bias, and create privacy by design ‚Äď all leading to developing trust and confidence for the user community, framed with the beginnings of sensible policy frameworks.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

Michael O’Connell, Member of the Advisory Council, Biometrics Institute and Managing Director, Critical Insights Consultancy Ltd

It is interesting to reflect over the last twenty years.¬† I have been involved in liveness detection research and testing since 1998, writing one of the first academic papers in the area.¬† At that time, many folks claimed that spoofing was not a problem and/or their systems were not vulnerable.¬† I was told by a senior academic colleague that it was a ‚Äúperception problem,‚ÄĚ which I took to mean, not an area of serious academic pursuit.¬† However, the Biometrics Institute did take biometric vulnerabilities seriously, forming the Biometrics Vulnerability Assessment Expert Group (BVAEG) which started in 2010. ¬†There I met a small group of individuals who were committed to identifying and mitigating vulnerabilities and sharing best practices amongst ourselves, as well as the larger biometric community.¬† I am happy to report that the landscape is a completely different story today.¬† ISO has published standards on liveness, now called presentation attack detection (PAD), and multiple organizations have certification programs. Industry is actively competing on PAD performance and pursuing independent assessment and certification.¬† Now there are many experts around the world who are continuing to move the field forward in a cat and mouse game with attackers, and this community is supported by the Biometrics Institute as well as many other organizations.

Stephanie Schuckers, Director, Biometrics Institute and  Director, Center of Identification Technology Research (CITeR)


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