In the aftermath of the events of 11 September 2001, the issue
of security, and consequently that of the identification and verification
of individuals, has become a priority at global level. The use of
biometrics is becoming more and more frequent. The Committee on
Legal Affairs and Human Rights is increasingly concerned about the
rapid and uncontrolled development of biometric technologies. It
stresses the need to strike an appropriate balance between security
and the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, especially
the right to privacy.
Given that at European level the legal framework regarding
the use of biometric data remains vague, Council of Europe member
states should take further measures to improve it. In particular,
they should adopt specific legislation in this area, produce a standardised
definition of “biometric data”, put in place supervisory bodies and
promote multidisciplinary research.
The Committee of Ministers could, amongst other things, revise
the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to
Automatic Processing of Personal Data in order to adapt it to the
challenges stemming from the development of biometric technologies.