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How organizations can use biometrics technologies and protect individuals’ privacy in the journey to high performance.
Biometric solutions—increasingly adopted to improve security, convenience and inclusion in society— are helping organizations gain greater efficiency and reduced cost. But this steep adoption curve is raising legitimate concerns over how sensitive biometric data will be used and safeguarded.
Protecting individuals’ privacy is a balancing act. On the one hand, frequent media reports on high-profile data breaches and probing questions from data privacy regulators and public figures set the tone for a more privacy-conscious world. On the other hand, individuals are increasingly willing to share their private data; a result of trusting that their data will not be misused as well as changing cultural attitudes.
Watch this video for views from leading biometrics specialists on how to reap the benefits offered by biometric solutions while preserving and enhancing the individual’s right to privacy.
Originally captured from criminals or suspects, biometric records were a breakthrough for police investigations and have been used at scale since the 1980s. However, more recently, the benefits of using biometrics to improve security, convenience, and inclusion in society—more efficiently and at reduced cost—are being widely recognized.
Today, biometric solutions are being used by the general public and Accenture has worked on a number of biometric solutions in areas such as:
Border control and immigration (ePassports, border control gates, residence, visa or asylum permits).
Civil ID (identity cards, health insurance, social benefits schemes, voting rights).
Banking (Automated Teller Machines, private banking services, mobile banking).
Shopping (customer personalization, VIP/loyalty enablement, segmentation).
Policing and security (investigations, custody, watch listing, surveillance).
Travel and transportation (automation, frequent flyer recognition).
Like any new technology, biometrics is subject to privacy concerns—and since biometric data relates to a specific individual, the concerns are personal and sensitive. Fortunately, there are many ways to address these concerns; technology solutions can help, but good system design involving technology architects, business and privacy specialists, privacy advocates, and end users, and appropriate procedural, educational, and regulatory requirements, can protect privacy more effectively.
Given these complex privacy issues, what of the future? Will organizations’ processing biometric data be increasingly challenged to justify their use and handling of this information? Will privacy issues become more acute as biometrics systems become more widespread and the public becomes more aware? Or will citizens and consumers choose to accept the use of biometric data as an essential ingredient of modern life?
Accenture believes people are becoming increasingly comfortable with biometric technologies, just as they have adopted credit cards, mobile phones, ecommerce or, more recently, social media. We expect fewer irrational fears as biometrics become better-understood and supported by an improved framework of standardized, regulated ways to handle the privacy of biometric systems.
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