Silicon Trust Innovation Council member, the Biometrics Institute, is celebrating its 15-year anniversary with a consistent mission of promoting the responsible use of biometrics as an independent and impartial international user group.
“I joined the Biometrics Institute in May 2002 and what an amazing journey it has been,” says Isabelle Moeller, the Biometrics Institute Chief Executive, “and what great foresight its founding members had when they then predicted that biometrics was to be in common use in the future and that the Institute wanted to be ahead of the game, technically as well as in terms of privacy and commercial uses.”
Moeller added, “Now that biometrics are becoming more ubiquitous and are being used in a wide variety of not only government but also consumer applications, our role of guiding organisations on best-practice for the responsible use of biometrics is even more important.”
The Biometrics Institute now has 213 membership organisations representing close to 900 individuals from 26 countries. It connects members from West and East Coast of the USA via Europe all the way to Australia and New Zealand.
“When I was asked to sum up the role of the Biometrics Institute, it was very easy to explain: we connect, we inform, we represent and we lead on all the issues related to the promotion of the responsible use of biometrics,” explains Moeller, “and we do all of this in a very professional and also enjoyable way as we serve our members and the community”.
The Biometrics Institute Limited was registered as a not-for-profit organisation in Australia on the 11 October 2001 and opened an office in London, UK in July 2011. It is set up as a user group giving organisations using biometrics more power in setting the direction of the organisation, however suppliers and academia form another important component of the membership.
“When I secured the funding from the Australian government for the establishment of the Biometrics Institute, it was originally suggested to set up a testing and evaluation organisation,” recalls Dr Ted Dunstone, the founder of the Biometrics Institute and Head of its Biometrics Vulnerability Assessment Expert Group (BVAEG), “but the members decided that user education and promotion of responsible use is what the industry needed the most.”
“We certainly made the right decision and it is exciting to see that the Institute still engages on discussions around the importance of testing, such a vulnerability assessments and liveness detection through the BVAEG.”
One major milestone was the work the Institute conducted to develop its own biometric vulnerability assessment methodology with funding from the Australian Government in 2006 to generate a new Science &Technology capability. It then used its expertise to engage with other testing organisations and vulnerability researchers around the world.
In 2010 it set up the BVAEG, an expert group that focuses on raising awareness about the importance of vulnerability assessments and that mitigation is available, share knowledge, research and experience about vulnerabilities on an ongoing basis and support development of a common standard under the ISO SC37.
The BVAEG developed the Top 10 Vulnerability FAQ paper in 2015, a guiding document that addresses questions such as whether a biometric can be stolen, what mitigation may be considered and what to do should this ever happen.
Biometrics continue to play an important role in the security and now also in consumer applications. Privacy protection need to be provided to gain community acceptance.
In February 2003 the Biometrics Institute Privacy Code was commissioned and partly paid for by the Australian government.
The Hon Terry Aulich, Head of the Biometrics Institute Privacy Committee explained, “A very important milestone was the work on a Privacy Code to help provide best-practice privacy principles for the use of biometrics addressing issues such as consent, notice and purpose.”
“The Biometrics Institute Privacy Guidelines have now been established based on the original work we conducted on the Code but we added expert knowledge of our now very varied and global membership which makes these Guidelines a very important best-practice guide for the industry,” he outlines.
Over the years the Biometrics Institute established several committees to provide expert advice and develop guiding material for members. It now has four Expert Groups including Digital Services, Privacy, Technology Innovation and Vulnerability Assessments and two User Groups including Academic Users and Borders and Major Programmes.
It runs a comprehensive event programme around Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the USA which includes the Biometrics 2016 conference in London on the 18-20 October 2016 and the Showcase Australia on the 16 November 2016 in Canberra.
The Biometrics Institute is governed by its Board of Directors representing a majority of user members. Its current chairperson is working for the Australian Attorney-General’s and other Directors are from Heathrow Airport UK, Wells Fargo Bank USA and the UK Home Office.
The Biometrics Institute is the independent and impartial international forum for biometrics users and other interested parties. It has been established to promote the responsible use of biometrics technologies. The Biometrics Institute has offices in Australia and the UK and a member base of over 210 organisations world-wide represented by close to 900 individuals.