Ensuring proper biometric oversight in Scotland

After years of campaigning for proper oversight of sensitive biometric data, Open Rights Group (ORG) is delighted to see the Scottish Parliament have voted to create a Scottish Biometrics Commissioner. Let’s get this right.

Establishing modern, effective institutions in Scotland

While facial recognition dominates the headlines we should recognise that biometrics is way more than that, from fingerprints and DNA to new generation biometrics such as iris and gait recognition. The Commissioner will help ensure that biometrics data is underpinned by a lawful framework that respects the fundamental right to privacy.

In 2017 ORG submitted evidence to the Independent Advisory Group on the use of Biometrics in Scotland.  A consultation by the Scottish Government was later held and ORG ran a campaign to generate responses to demonstrate the public interest in creating an institution. The Scottish Government subsequently committed to establishing a Commissioner in their legislative programme for 2018-19 and voted to create the position in March 2020.

As Scotland establishes modern, effective institutions to oversee the collection, retention and use of our sensitive biometric data, the UK’s challenge has never been greater. Join ORG to help elevate our movement to protect digital privacy and challenge mass surveillance.

The Story So Far

Scottish Biometrics Commissioner receives Committee boost

Amendments made to the Scottish Biometrics Commissioner Bill have strengthened the status of the proposed Commissioner, including providing an individual complaints procedure, making the code of practice set by the Commissioner binding and allowing for the Commissioner to present compliance notices.
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What Scotland can learn from the facial recognition fiasco

Facial recognition may be an ambition for Police Scotland, but they can’t let that blind them to the steps they need to take before embarking on trials.
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The Generation Game: Defining Biometrics

Rules about how long a given piece of biometric data is held are important, and also important is who would oversee the rules.
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One more step towards a Scottish Biometrics Commissioner

Scotland, unlike England, Wales and Northern Ireland, does not have an independent body overseeing the use of biometric data such as DNA, fingerprints, facial images.
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