UKA correspondentThursday 17 August 2017

New biometrics ethics group gets underway

BFEG will report to Home Office with a broader remit than predecessor body

A new government authority has been set up to look at the ethical issues around the use of biometrics.

Fingers on fingerprint readerThe Biometrics and Forensics Ethics Group (BFEG) has replaced the National DNA Database Ethics Group (NDNAD EG) with a broader remit, taking in the ethical issues around all forensic identification techniques. These include facial recognition technology and fingerprinting.

The move is in line with recommendations made within the Triennial Review of Home Office Science non-departmental public bodies.

The NDNAD EG was established in 2008, and provided advice to the Home Office on issues, including policies for the retention of DNA and DNA profiles, the establishment of a Central Elimination Database, international exchange of DNA, Y-STR (short tandem repeat on the Y-chromosone) profiling and rapid DNA technologies.

The BFEG will continue all the active work programmes of the NDNAD EG as well as providing advice on a range of new biometric and forensic topics. It has put out a call for new members from a variety of professions, including genetics, forensic science, biometric data, data protection, the police, social science, political science, medical science and law.

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0