Public lecture audience

LSE academic to advise review on governance of biometric data

The Metropolitan Police will be deploying facial recognition cameras for the first time on London streets.
Dr Edgar Whitley has advised governments about the challenges of effective identity policies.

Dr Edgar Whitley will be part of the Expert Advisory Group for an independent review launched by the Ada Lovelace Institute on the governance of biometric data.

The review, which will be led by Matthew Ryder QC, 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. 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. The Metropolitan Police recently announced they will be deploying live facial recognition cameras operationally for the first time on London streets.

“The mission of the Department of Management is to inform and inspire better management in practice”, says Edgar. “My contribution to this important and timely policy area illustrates the interaction by robust research and practice.”

Edgar is an Associate Professor of Information Systems at LSE’s Department of Management and is co-chair of the UK Cabinet Office Privacy and Consumer Advisory Group. He was the research coordinator of the influential LSE Identity Project on the UK’s proposals to introduce biometric identity cards. Edgar has advised governments around the world about the political, technological and social challenges of effective identity policies.

The Ada Lovelace Institute (Ada) is an independent think tank and research institute. In 2019, Ada published the first national survey of public opinion on the use of facial recognition which revealed the majority of people in the UK want companies, the government, and public bodies to limit use of the technology including by the police and in schools.

Ada’s final report and recommendations will be published in October 2020.  

Read Edgar’s Impact Case Study on scrapping costly and controversial proposals for identity cards.


Tuesday 28 January 2020