European Parliament publishes study on biometric profiling

The European Parliament has published a study titled ‘Biometric Recognition and Behavioural Detection ’ which assesses the ethics of biometric recognition and behavioural detection techniques particularly their use in public spaces. The study defines biometric techniques to include to include technologies or operations that ‘rely on specific technical processing of data relating to physical, physiological or behavioural aspects of the human body (including when in motion)’; as well as the authentication, identification, classification and categorisation of human individuals according to long term characteristics. It highlights major trends in biometric identification, categorisation and detection of human conditions.

Key recommendations from the report include detaching the concepts of  ‘emotion recognition system’ and ‘biometric categorisation system’ from ‘biometric data’ as defined in the GDPR. Instead, there should be a new definition called ‘biometrics-based data’ to cover these concepts. This is from the finding that most ethical issues in relation to biometric data do not arise from the collection of such data but use of the data.