Is the Popularity of Biometrics Further Escalating Privacy Risks?

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Biometrics Further Escalating Privacy Risks

Biometric provides an opportunity to verify an identity uniquely, but it definitely comes with its own weaknesses, because once leaked – there is no way the user can reuse that biometric feature ever.

Businesses, while processing the biometric data, need to adhere to the best practices to process them since they are considered under special categories of personal data (as confirmed by the GDPR)Reusing biometrics gives the perpetrators huge chances of successfully replicating the stolen data. Hence, appropriate regulations and laws should be implemented to mitigate the impact on individuals while processing their biometric data.

As per GDPR, while processing special categories of data (including biometrics), organizations have to carry out a DPIA (Data Processing Impact Assessment) to evaluate the risk and also to take required control measures to mitigate the impact.

Hence, it is crucial to have international privacy laws in place to protect individual biometric data with the increased use of biometric identifications in new services and product offerings.

Read more: Remote Identification Process Simplified and Safeguarded by the Biometrics Technology

With all of the promised biometrics usage, there are privacy and security concerns, because if stored biometric data gets leaked, the concerned individuals may not use the compromised biometric feature again for any of the functions.

However, without access to the RAW copy of the biometric, it is of no use with the stolen coded presentation of the biometric feature. Even though attackers managed to hack the coded fingerprint representation, they may not be able to reproduce the RAW format of the fingerprint.

One way to enhance security would be to leverage encryption technologies such as hashing to protect biometric data. While an attacker manages to access biometrics, they would fail to access the raw copy or coded representation of the biometrics.

Security best practices can play a huge role in such situations by providing detailed guidelines on how to secure biometric data. The latest privacy information management standard by ISO (ISO27701) provides detailed guidelines for biometrics as one of the top applications across domains. Therefore, all organizations willing to use biometrics for their business processes should adhere to all these security guidelines.

Read More: Access and Identity Management – Is the Sense of Security Misleading?

The lack of global privacy regulations surrounding biometrics hinders the protection of critical personal data globally. If the laws remain restricted to individual states, regions, or countries, it will be challenging to maintain privacy during the biometric lifecycle information for enforcing the protection and regulations of the law.

For instance, there is no common data protection law in the USA, relying on multiple federal and state-level laws to protect the citizens. While EU nations have the GDPR to protect sensitive information across the EU and beyond, it is apparent that other prominent nations realize the importance of personal data protection as well.

Having strict national or state privacy laws helps countries’ protect citizens while they are relying on biometric data. However, the absence of regional or global privacy laws will hinder the global awareness and acknowledgment of the available best practices from protecting personal data.

Soon, the world will see an increased use of biometrics across a wide range of applications. As for the general public, it is crucial to consider whether sensitive personal data and rights are protected by relevant national/local/regional privacy laws.

A lack of global privacy regulations will hinder the constant handling of biometrics across industries. Furthermore, there should be more stringent guidelines for the processors and controllers of biometric data, with upcoming privacy standards such as ISO27701, to enable organizations to establish privacy integrated data processing to minimize the impact on individual rights.