Campaigners call on Scotland to expand biometrics commissioner role
04 October 2019 16:33 GMT

UK NGOs want the Scottish government to expand the scope of the proposed biometrics commissioner. 

A group made up of Open Rights Group, Amnesty International Scotland, and Big Brother Watch wrote to Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf, calling for the commissioner to apply to public bodies and private bodies using biometric technology on the general public. 

The letter, states “The debate about the proportionate and ethical use of biometrics is occurring in multiple sectors and the focus on the collection, retention, use and deletion of biometrics solely in law enforcement is blind to the realities of the use of biometrics today. Biometrics are being used in the fields of health and social care, immigration and asylum, even education… Each of these applications raise separate questions of rights, morals and ethics.”

The Scottish Biometrics Commissioner Bill, currently being considered by Holyrood’s Justice Committee, would create a commissioner to oversee the collection, use, retention and deletion of biometrics specifically by law enforcement. 

 The letter points to recent deployments of facial recognition in London at a King’s Cross development and Swedish school use of facial recognition technology as examples of other sectors adopting biometrics capability.

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