The Three Laws of Biometrics

The 3 laws of biometrics

What is it?

With Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics as our inspiration, the Biometrics Institute has devised the Three Laws of Biometrics to prompt people using biometrics to remember the fundamentals of applying the technology responsibly and ethically.

Developed in 2020, the laws went through a rigorous process of review by the Institute’s Future Direction Group, other expert committees, and Board of Directors.

We want our members 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. 


The Three Laws of Biometrics

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

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

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

How do members benefit?

The laws – or the PPT of biometrics – should be used to guide members 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.

Who updates it?

The Institute’s Future Direction Group (FDG) review the laws regularly.

How to access it?

We encourage you to use the Three Laws of Biometrics, but please note they need to be referenced to the Biometrics Institute.

© Copyright 2020 Biometrics Institute.  All Rights Reserved.


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