Matthew Ryder QC to lead independent review of the governance of biometric data


Matthew Ryder QC has been commissioned by the Ada Lovelace Institute to lead an independent review of the governance of biometric data. The review will examine the existing regulatory framework and identify options for reform that will protect people from misuse of their biometric data, such as facial characteristics, fingerprints, iris prints and DNA.

Technologies which capture, analyse and compare biometric data are increasingly being used by police, public authorities and companies, but a lack of regulation of these technologies has led to public protest, legal challenge and repeated calls for action from the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. The independent review will assess the gaps in the existing regulatory framework and make recommendations for reform that will ensure biometric data is governed consistently with human rights, the public interest and public trust. In undertaking the review, Matthew will draw on guidance and advice from an independent advisory group of specialists in law, ethics, technology, criminology, genetics and data protection.

Speaking about the review, Matthew commented:

“This is a really important initiative, in an incredibly contested area of law. Understanding data rights is becoming essential for lawyers, and I look forward to the challenge of bringing greater scrutiny and clarity to a complex ecosystem of benefits and harms.”

Full terms of reference for the review can be found here. The final report and its recommendations are due to be published in October 2020.

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