Biometric Privacy Resources


Biometric technologies are increasingly being used by state, local, and tribal agencies across the nation for many justice-related purposes, including identification and crime solving. The methods applied when using these tools must be balanced with appropriate privacy and information quality protections—both for the agency and for the subject individual. 

 In response to National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD) 59/Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) 24, Biometrics for Identification and Screening to Enhance National Security, Global identified “the use of biometrics by justice agencies” as a critical need area for privacy and information quality protections guidance. 

Global worked to develop resources and guidance for justice agencies regarding the collection, accuracy, use, sharing, and retention of biometric information and the importance of addressing privacy, civil rights, civil liberties, and information quality concerns. The following is a synopsis of the resources developed.
Published in October 2010, this document was developed as an awareness primer for administrators and policymakers who have the responsibility for overseeing the use of biometric technology. These individuals may be unaware of the major privacy and information quality issues that can arise at different points in the collection and use of information derived from biometric tools or how best to implement policies and procedures to avoid such risks. A highlight of this primer is the inclusion of two useful-quick reference charts (or frameworks)—one for privacy and one for information quality. These charts are designed to allow an agency to quickly gauge whether there is or will be a privacy or information quality risk and to determine where that risk falls within a spectrum—low to high—not just at the point of collection but throughout the entire agency biometric process.  
Additionally, the primer makes the case for privacy and information quality policies and procedures in the collection, sharing, and storage of biometrics; provides a synopsis of biometric technologies and their use in the justice system; summarizes biometric privacy and information quality issues; includes illustrative scenarios of biometric use; and contains guidance and a listing of resources for addressing these complex issues. 
This issue paper is the result of an intense collaboration among privacy professionals and esteemed biometric, DNA, and familial DNA searching subject-matter experts (SMEs) who generously contributed their time and expertise to its content and development. Global developed this overview to support state, local, and tribal (SLT) justice entities that are performing or considering performing familial DNA searching with a primer on the science of familial DNA and its use in criminal investigations, key issues implicated by familial DNA searching, and guidance on balancing the interests of both law enforcement and public safety with the privacy rights, interests, and concerns of affected persons.