June 1, 2023
According to the Ryder Review, existing regulations are fragmented and have failed to keep pace with technology.

An independent legal assessment that was undertaken by Matthew Ryder QC discovered that new rules controlling biometric technologies are desperately needed right now. Data that is considered to be biometric includes things like a person’s face, fingerprints, voice, DNA profile, and other body-related metrics.

Live facial recognition technology is becoming more widespread, and other technologies that use this data are also becoming more widespread. The investigation came to the conclusion that the laws in England and Wales were vague, disjointed, and had not been updated to reflect technological advances.

It was stated that biometric technologies, which were once virtually solely used in policing, are now being utilised by an increasing number of private and public organisations, such as employers, schools, and businesses. Gait analysis, which examines distinguishing characteristics of individuals’s walking patterns, and key-stroke analysis, which is based on how people type, are two examples of the more cutting-edge technologies that are currently being utilised.

The Ada Lovelace Institute, which commissioned the review, provided a number of examples of how biometric technology were being employed in a separate publication. These examples include the following:

Schools are implementing facial-recognition technology as a means of authenticating the identity of children before allowing them to purchase lunch. A supermarket chain that uses facial recognition to warn employees about customers who have a previous record of shoplifting or engaging in other anti-social behaviour

Companies that use an artificial intelligence system to grade video interviews with job prospects for attributes such as “enthusiasm,” “willingness to learn,” “conscientiousness and responsibility,” and “personal stability.” According to the report, better legislation and regulation would subject such uses to considerably higher examination before they were deployed.

According to a spokeswoman for the Institute who talked to the BBC, authorities only take action after the fact at this time.
According to what the spokesman had to say, “We may think of this as a regulatory “whack-a-mole,” which we are suggesting is inadequate.” And not a single witness who was questioned about the review believed that the existing legal framework was adequate for the task at hand.

There are a variety of rules that govern the process of collecting and using biometric data, including the following:

Act of Human Rights (1998) General Data Protection Regulation of the United Kingdom Data Protection Act of 2018

Act of 1984 Relating to Police and Criminal Evidence Specifically, the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 and the Terrorism Act of 2000. Equality Act of 2010 Investigatory Powers Act of 2016 The review’s author, Matthew Ryder QC, made the following comments: “The existing legal system is disorganised and muddled, and it cannot keep up with the rapid speed of technological change.

We are in desperate need of an ambitious new regulatory framework that is tailored specifically to biometrics. We must not permit the use of biometric data to expand in an environment where there are inadequate regulations and insufficient regulation.

The institute is now advocating for a number of improvements, including:

a broad body of law that regulates the application of biometric technologies. control from a government agency at the national level that is impartial and has adequate resources. a requirement that technological solutions adhere to established norms of precision, dependability, validity, and proportionality

a halt on the implementation of any systems in the public sector that are capable of mass identification or classification until legislation is passed. In addition, some recommendations about live facial recognition (LFR) were provided as a result of this evaluation. LFR is a camera system that compares faces to a watch-list.

LFR has been implemented by a number of police forces, notably the Metropolitan police and the South Wales police, the latter of which has been successfully challenged in court. According to the assessment, there should be a legally obligatory police code of practise that governs the use of LFR. And any and all other uses in public should be put on hold until there is a regulation governing the private sector.

The phrase “Sound regulation”

Prof. Fraser Sampson, Commissioner for Biometrics and Surveillance Cameras, echoed the request for improvements that was made in the study, stating that it needed to be comprehensive, consistent, and cohesive. According to Lady Hamwee, who is the chairwoman of the Lords Justice and Home Affairs Committee, the following was said: “The arrangements that are currently in place, which are neither coordinated nor clear, are insufficient.

“The potential of biometric technologies is enormous. “They need a vital component in order to function well, and that component is public trust and confidence,” which in turn requires “good regulation.”

In response to the Ryder Review, a spokesperson for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport told the BBC that the government was considering “Our laws already have very stringent requirements on the use and retention of biometric data, and we are committed to upholding a high standard for the protection of personal data. “We applaud the work that the Ada Lovelace Institute and Matthew Ryder QC have done, and we’ll be sure to give the recommendations significant consideration in due course,”


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