Biometric Technologies & Human Rights

Spotting PRIVACY & ethical IMPLICATIONS:

Phones with facial recognition, administrations storing our bodily traits, voice recordings to determine our access to jobs or benefits… Are biometrics a security miracle, or a threat to human rights?


As society’s fascination with biometrics grows, so is its implementation to verify identities. There already were consolidated biometric applications, such as fingerprint capture for administrative and security purposes, and now we are seeing an increase of the use of facial features, the iris and retina, the vascular pattern of the hands, DNA, gait or voice. 

These metrics for commercial, banking or access control purposes, have arrived under the promise of greater security, convenience and verifiability. In the face of this explosion of applications, however, the question arises as to whether biometrics are the best answer to our problems, and what are the risks of this commitment to the use of bodily traits to verify identities.