Privacy and Data Protection Issues of Biometric Applications

A Comparative Legal Analysis

  • Els J. Kindt

Part of the Law, Governance and Technology Series book series (LGTS, volume 12)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxi
  2. The Concept of Biometric Data

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 13-13
  3. The Processing of Biometric Data and the Proportionality Principle

  4. Assessment and Recommendations for Strengthening the Data Protection Framework for Biometric Data

  5. Back Matter
    Pages 909-975

About this book


This book discusses all critical privacy and data protection aspects of biometric systems from a legal perspective. It contains a systematic and complete analysis of the many issues raised by these systems based on examples worldwide and provides several recommendations for a transnational regulatory framework. An appropriate legal framework is in most countries not yet in place.  

Biometric systems use facial images, fingerprints, iris and/or voice in an automated way to identify or to verify (identity) claims of persons. The treatise which has an interdisciplinary approach starts with explaining the functioning of biometric systems in general terms for non-specialists. It continues with a description of the legal nature of biometric data and makes a comparison with DNA and biological material and the regulation thereof. After describing the risks, the work further reviews the opinions of data protection authorities in relation to biometric systems and current and future (EU) law. A detailed legal comparative analysis is made of the situation in Belgium, France and the Netherlands. 

The author concludes with an evaluation of the proportionality principle and the application of data protection law to biometric data processing operations, mainly in the private sector. Pleading for more safeguards in legislation, the author makes several suggestions for a regulatory framework aiming at reducing the risks of biometric systems. They include limitations to the collection and storage of biometric data as well as technical measures, which could influence the proportionality of the processing.  

The text is supported by several figures and tables providing a summary of particular points of the discussion. The book also uses the 2012 biometric vocabulary adopted by ISO and contains an extensive bibliography and literature sources.


Are Biometric Data Personal Data Are Biometric Data Sensitive Personal Data Biometric Characteristics Biometric Systems Biometric Data Are Vulnerable: Traces, Forgery and Theft Biometric Data Permit to Identify Individuals Biometric Data Processing Biometric Data and the Concept of Personal Data Biometric Data and the Fundamental Right to Data Protection Biometric Data and the Opinion 4/2007 Biometric Data, Data Protection and Privacy Biometric Data, Data Protection and The Right to Privacy Biometrics: Ethical and Societal Issues Comparison of DNA With Biometric Data DNA Templates and DNA Profiles Data Protection Functioning of A Biometric System Genetic Information and DNA Analysis Legal Analysis Legal Framework for the Processing of Biometrics Proportionality Principle Protection to Facial Images Regulation Governing the Use of Genetic Data Regulation of the Processing of DNA Relating to the use of a Biometric System Sensitive Personal Data Sensitive Personal Data and Biometric Data The Right to Privacy The Risks Involved in the Use of Biometric Data Use of Biometric Technology

Authors and affiliations

  • Els J. Kindt
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Law - ICRIKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

Bibliographic information