Scotland To Adopt Code Of Practice For Biometric Data

//Scotland To Adopt Code Of Practice For Biometric Data

Scotland To Adopt Code Of Practice For Biometric Data

Scotland is to become the first country in the world to introduce a statutory Code of Practice on the use of biometric data for policing. The Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) reports that the guidance on the ethical use of biometric data came into force on the 16 November. 

Biometric data is information about a person’s unique physical and behavioural characteristics, such as finger prints and facial profiles. It is now commonly used as a method of access control in public and corporate settings, and for authentication for access to electronic devices.

There has been increased use of biometric data as a security and authentication feature since the pandemic, because it reduces contact and the need for keys or fobs. It also saves the time and trouble of remembering passwords, and is a more secure method of protecting technologically stored data.

Forensic technologies and biometric data are also being increasingly used in the criminal justice system. This has led to criticism from some quarters about how the data is acquired and used. It has also raised concerns about bias, equality, privacy, and respect for civil and human rights. 

Scotland’s first Biometrics Commissioner, Dr Brian Plastow, said the new framework seeks to “support and promote the adoption of lawful, effective, and ethical practices”.

Commenting on the introduction of the guidelines, he said: “From today, Scotland is the first country in the world to have a national code of practice which gives guidance to the police on how biometric data and related forensic technologies can be used.”

He added: “It promotes good practice, transparency and accountability by setting out standards for professional decision-making while matching the needs and responsibilities of policing with important human rights safeguards. Its implementation should enhance confidence in our criminal justice system.”

He continued: “In Scotland, my functions extend to independent oversight of the use of fingerprints, DNA, photographs and other images or recordings for policing and criminal justice purposes and also to the source biological materials from which a biometric data record can be created.” 

In Scotland, Police Scotland, the Scottish Police Authority and the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner must follow the guidelines, with a power of enforcement in place if necessary. There is also a formal complaints procedure in place.

Prof Fraser Sampson, the UK Government’s biometrics and surveillance commissioner, said: “I’m on Brian’s {Plastow’s] Advisory Board and believe there are many things we can learn from the Scottish approach to biometrics.”

“For example, including facial images and other ‘new’ metrics in the definition of biometrics rather than limiting the focus to DNA and fingerprints which looks increasingly outdated.”

“Against this background, a comprehensive code of practice for policing seems to offer a coherent and pragmatic approach to what is an increasingly important subject for both the police and the citizen.”

Biometric technology is now used in a wide variety of ways, by employers, educational institutions, and in the corporate world. It can also be used as part of a Global Security Alarm System

By |2023-01-24T16:53:16+00:00December 30th, 2022|Blog|0 Comments

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