Biometrics Institute launches international privacy charter
24 November 2011 17:53 GMT

Privacy Charter released for biometrics

Reflecting the Biometric Institutes' increasingly global aspirations, the organisation plans to launch its international Biometrics Privacy Charter on the 30 November 2011.

The release will be made available to members during its 7th Biometrics Institute Technology Showcase and Exhibition which will be held in Canberra, Australia.

"This Biometrics Privacy Charter has been designed by the Biometrics Institute to provide a universal guide for suppliers, end users, managers and purchasers of biometric systems," says Isabelle Moeller, General Manager of the Biometrics Institute, "It is the public's assurance that the biometric managers have followed best practice privacy principles when designing, implementing and managing biometric based projects."

According to the Institute, the Charter is intended to be a guide across many different countries and jurisdictions. It takes into account the legislative and administrative frameworks of different countries but recognises that biometrics and information technologies do connect beyond national boundaries and across different fields as diverse as health records, border controls, consumer based applications in the telecommunications industry, banking and drivers licenses.

The Biometrics Privacy Charter is based on the principle that citizens, when providing their biometric, have a right to expect that those who design, implement and manage that biometric understand its unique value and are committed to a Charter that ensures best privacy practice in biometric design, policy and management.

The Biometrics Privacy Charter contains sixteen principles addressing issues such as Respect for Client Privacy, Proportionality, Informed Consent, Protection of Biometric Data Collected, Purpose, Accountability, Sharing of biometric data, Transmission of Biometric Data Beyond National Boundaries and Employee Biometric Data Must be Protected amongst others.
It also provides a checklist on how to Implement and Manage the Principles of this Privacy Charter.

One of the Biometrics Institute key drivers is to encourage the responsible use and development of biometrics and privacy protection.

In September 2006, the Biometrics Institute Privacy Code - a first of its kind in the world - was registered with the Australian Privacy Commission and became part of Australian Privacy Legislation. It includes privacy standards that are at least equivalent to the Australian National Privacy Principles in the Australian Privacy Act. The Code is currently under review in light of the expected changes to the Australian Privacy Act.

The Biometrics Institute then launched a Privacy Awareness Checklist (PAC) in 2010 to assist members in a quick an easy way to assess privacy impacts when using biometrics. It provides a snapshot in time of where the organisation sits in regards to privacy.

The Biometrics Privacy Charter is an advance on the Code and the Privacy Awareness Checklist and is also international, comprehensible, useful and realistic.