New report outlines findings of Independent Advisory Group on Biometric Data

Date: 28th March 2018
Category: Protection of privacy

The Independent Advisory Group on the Use of Biometric Data in Scotland has published their report on the use of biometric data and rules around retention, including specific recommendations for children aged 12-17.

The report aims to provide a clear basis for ensuring that Scotland's approach to the use of biometric data and technology strikes a balance between protecting individuals' human rights and supporting effective law enforcement. It provides nine recommendations for Scottish Government on how best this can be taken forward.

The Independent Advisory Group was chaired by John Scott QC and was established by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice. Together contributed to a Children and Young People's subgroup which was established to consider the unique nature of the retention of children's data and how the recommendations complied with children's rights as laid out in the UNCRC.

As a result, the following recommendation was made regarding children's data retention:

"Distinct policies should be formulated for the acquisition, retention, use and disposal of the biometric data of children aged between 12 and 17. In each case involving a child, consideration should be given to the proportionality and necessity of obtaining biometric data for the purposes of recording on the biometric databases, ensuring that the best interests of the individual child are taken into account in the decision-making process. Where the decision is to obtain and retain biometric data, the reasons should be recorded and subject to review and scrutiny. Appropriate consideration should be given, and adaptation made, in the treatment of the data of those (children and adults) with specific vulnerabilities."

The Scottish Government has responded to the report and accepted eight of the nine recommendations, and accepted the last recommendation 'in principle.'