MoD's use of biometrics 'should be properly regulated'

There is a risk of sensitive information being abused unless a proper system is put in place to govern the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and other departments' use of biometrics, an expert has warned.

In his annual report, UK biometrics commissioner Paul Wiles said there is currently no proper regulation over searches of the police national fingerprint database, for instance, something he finds very concerning.

Biometrics are unique bodily identifiers that can range from fingerprints to gait and facial recognition. Currently, the MoD uses the fingerprint database IDENT1 to check if fingerprints taken or found during military operations abroad match to fingerprints taken by UK police or immigration authorities.

Mr Wiles insisted there is no legal ground for such searches and has called for a lawful arrangement "to be found and implemented urgently".

He added that legislators may have issues keeping pace with technological advances surrounding biometrics, but added it is essential that "the balance between benefits and risks and between benefits and loss of privacy are being properly managed".

The Home Office has no new legislative framework concerning the use of biometrics by the police and military scheduled for delivery.

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