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Using biometric technologies

Biometric technologies, such as automated face recognition, the identification and verification of individuals using fingerprints and iris recognition, are set to play an increasingly important role in our futures.

Biometric eye machineWe are pioneering the use of these new methods of authentication in a number of programmes, including:

  • using fingerprint technologies to register asylum seekers
  • using Iris recognition systems to facilitate travel for frequent visitors to the UK
  • introducing the new range of passports which include a digitised image of the holder’s face in a secure chip

Biometrics Centre of Expertise

The Biometrics Centre of Expertise, headed by Marek Rejman-Greene, supports the Home Office’s programmes to provide scientifically based advice on the application of biometrics. Our aims are to:

  • align programmes and projects, for example through operation to common standards and as part of a wider identity management environment
  • support assurance activities in procurement and deployment
  • share experience and knowledge about the application of biometrics throughout government, organising courses and co-ordinating activities
  • anticipate future developments in biometric technologies and system design, to ensure that solutions continue to be effective and optimal into the next decade
  • engage with academia, technology developers and system integrators to ensure a flow of information and knowledge about the use of biometrics in government 

The Centre supports the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (BERR) (formerly the Department of Trade and Industry) in fostering a high quality research base in the UK, and works with the European Biometrics Forum and the European Commission to assess the interoperability of solutions across the European Union.
Although it is vital to get the technology aspects right, we believe it is as important to understand the context in which these are used, to ensure that we have robust, scalable and secure solutions and users that are comfortable in their application.

Working with organisations

We work with other organisations to develop the understanding and application of biometrics.

We are a key contributor to the International Organisation for Standardisation committee which is developing standards for the use of biometrics. The British Standards Institute (new window) supports the work of this committee.

We also contribute to the work of organisations including the UK Biometric Working Group, the International Association for Biometrics (iAfB) and the International Biometrics Foundation. 

See also

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Contact Us

Email us or call us on 01727 865051.  If you do not know who you want to speak to, call our Information Service on 01727 816400

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