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Use of Biometric Data and Technologies

As the biometrics field continues to evolve, Scottish Ministers are committed to ensuring that biometric data and associated technologies are used within a clear framework which incorporates human rights and ethical considerations


In June 2017, the Scottish Government appointed John Scott QC to chair the Independent Advisory Group (IAG) on the Use of Biometric Data in Scotland.  The group was asked to consider the recommendations contained in HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland’s Audit and Assurance Review of the Use of the Facial Search Functionality

report and to provide recommendations to Ministers on a policy and legislative framework.

Independent Advisory Group

The group was chaired by prominent solicitor advocate John Scott QC and met eight times between June 2017 and January 2018.  The full remit and membership of the group is available to read in the Terms of Reference.

The IAG consulted with a range of organisations and individuals with an interest in biometrics including privacy and human rights bodies, research institutes and leading academics.  A sub-group was also established to consider particular issues relating to the retention and use of biometric data from children and young people.

The Scottish Government published the Report of the IAG on the Use of Biometrics in Scotland on 22 March 2018.

The report makes 9 recommendations which include the creation of an independent Scottish Biometrics Commissioner, the establishment of a statutory code of practice covering biometric data and technologies and a review of the existing retention rules (with distinct policies applied to children aged 12 to 17).

A Scottish Government response, which sets out next steps in relation to each of the recommendations, is published alongside the report.

Key Documents

Key documents are available to read in full at the links below.

Report of the Independent Advisory Group on Biometric Data in Scotland – 22 March

Scottish Government Response to the Report of the Independent Advisory Group on Biometric Data in Scotland – 22 March

Scottish Government News Release – 22 March

Independent Advisory Group Stakeholder Responses

Scottish Human Rights Commission - Overview Paper - Diego Quiroz - October 2017

Next Steps

The Scottish Government will develop detailed proposals based on the  recommendations contained in the report and, subject to further consultation, would seek to introduce primary legislation in this area later in the current parliamentary session. 

Contact Us

If you have any views or would like further information please contact BiometricsAdvisoryGroup@gov.scot