Pioneering standard from BSI addresses public concerns over biometric technologies

Press release - 14 July 2011

The British Standards Institution (BSI) has launched a new standard to address growing concerns around the use of biometric technologies.

Biometric recognition systems are increasingly being introduced into a number of UK sectors, including schools, hospitals, construction sites and prisons. However proposals to use these unique ways of confirming identity are often accompanied by privacy concerns.

PAS 92 - Code of practice for the implementation of a biometric system - is intended to provide those managers considering the purchase of a recognition system with a framework to ensure that their organization demonstrates best practice before they buy a biometric system, as well as committing it to maintenance of a quality installation. The standard will also enable organisations to understand and comply with their obligations in respect of personal data.

PAS 92 will be of interest to a diverse market which includes procurement officials in sectors such as construction, local authorities (including health and education departments) and the emergency services. Other potential users of the standard are specialist security suppliers, small businesses, integrators, the licensing trade and managers of nightclubs.

“BSI is leading the way in supporting the biometric community with the creation of a standard that provides guidance on the specification of performance and security criteria for procurement and operation of the technology,” says Mike Low, Director of British Standards. “PAS 92 will enable procurement managers to confidently work with suppliers to design and deliver a system that works effectively within a defined budget.”

“Biometric systems can enhance the security of many systems, as biometric features are tightly coupled to the individual. However, their use in some applications has raised public concern.” says Marek Rejman-Greene, from the Centre for Applied Science and Technology (CAST) at Home Office Science. “The launch of the new PAS is to be welcomed, as it takes a practical and comprehensive view on the design and implementation of such systems. It offers a step-by-step approach to the specification of a biometric solution that should result in systems which are both legally compliant and fit for purpose.”

Notes to editors

The developing committee for PAS 92:2011 - Code of practice for the implementation of a biometric system – includes representatives from IBM, IBS, Fujitsu, Home Office Science – Centre for Applied Science and Technology (previously Home Office Scientific Development Branch), Identity and Passport Service (IPS), KeCrypt Systems, Morpho UK Ltd, National Physical Laboratory (NPL), National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA), Phoneability, UK Government Biometrics Working Group (BWG) and the BSI Consumer & Public Interest Network.