Biometric Data Governance: Establishing Policies and Controls for Online Storage

Biometric Data Governance: Establishing Policies And Controls For Online Storage

Biometric Data Governance: Establishing Policies and Controls for Online Storage

In the modern era, where technology reigns supreme, the internet has become the hub for everything, be it personal or professional. With the exponential increase in the use of online services, the requirement for security has also gone up many notches. One such aspect of cybersecurity that has gained prominence is biometrics, which has been used to authenticate users. Biometric data is collected from individuals, which comprises of personal credentials such as fingerprints, facial recognition, iris scans, voice recognition, and other unique physical and behavioral traits.However, with the increased usage of biometric data, it has become imperative to store and manage this data securely. This is where biometric data governance plays a critical role. In this article, we would explore the various facets of biometric data governance and how it can be used to establish policies and controls for online storage.

The Importance of Biometric Data Governance

Biometric data governance refers to the process of regulating access to biometric data in order to prevent any unauthorized access, loss or misuse. It is aimed at protecting the privacy of individuals and ensuring that the data is managed in a secure manner, with strict policies and procedures governing its storage, retrieval, and usage.Biometric data governance is particularly critical since biometric data is unique to each individual, and once compromised, it can have far-reaching consequences. For instance, if a hacker gains access to an individual’s biometric data, it can be used to create fake identities, commit fraud, or even facilitate terrorism.Apart from these grave security concerns, biometric data governance is also significant for legal and compliance reasons. Many countries have enacted laws and regulations governing the storage, usage, and sharing of biometric data. In the event of a data breach, companies that fail to comply with these regulations can be penalized and face severe legal consequences.

Real-life Example

One such example is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that came into effect on May 25th, 2018, in Europe. The GDPR has stringent requirements for the storage, usage, and sharing of personal data, and biometric data is no exception. Companies that operate in Europe must comply with the GDPR and obtain explicit consent from individuals before collecting or processing their biometric data. They must also ensure that the data is stored securely and erased when no longer required.

Establishing Policies for Biometric Data Governance

The first step in establishing policies for biometric data governance is to identify the specific types of data that are being collected and the reasons why they are being collected. This includes the modalities used to collect the data, such as iris scans, facial recognition, fingerprints, or voice recognition. Once this is accomplished, policies can be established for data retention, deletion, and access control.Another critical aspect of biometric data governance is to ensure that only authorized personnel have access to the data. This includes implementing strict authentication measures to prevent any unauthorized access to biometric data. Access control mechanisms such as two-factor authentication, multi-factor authentication, and role-based access control can be used to restrict access to biometric data.

Real-life Example

One example of access control measures is the use of employee ID badges with biometric identification for access to secure areas. This type of access control provides an added layer of security, as only authorized personnel with the correct biometric credentials and the ID badge are granted access to restricted areas.

Establishing Controls for Biometric Data Governance

Apart from policies, controls must also be established to ensure that these policies are being followed. Regular audits can be conducted to assess the effectiveness of these controls, identify any weaknesses, and remediate any deficiencies.Additionally, regular training and awareness programs should be conducted for all personnel who have access to biometric data. This can include training on data privacy laws, data protection techniques, and how to identify and report any suspicious activity.

Real-life Example

One such example is the use of alert systems that notify the IT team whenever there is an attempted breach of biometric data. These alerts can be used to investigate any suspicious activity or behavior, identify any vulnerabilities in the system, and initiate remedial measures.

Ensuring Compliance with Regulatory Requirements

As we mentioned earlier, many countries have enacted laws and regulations governing the storage, usage, and sharing of biometric data. It is imperative that companies comply with these regulations in order to avoid any legal or regulatory penalties.To ensure compliance, companies must conduct regular compliance assessments, track any changes in the regulatory landscape and update their policies and procedures accordingly.

Real-life Example

One such example is the Federal Information Processing Standards Publication 201 (FIPS 201) that specifies the requirements for personal identity verification (PIV) cards and the use of biometric data in PIV systems. Compliance with FIPS 201 is mandatory for all federal agencies and contractors who have access to federal facilities and information systems.

The Risks Associated with Biometric Data Governance

While biometric data governance is critical for ensuring the security and privacy of individuals, it also carries with it some potential risks. One such vulnerability is the potential for data breaches.A data breach occurs when unauthorized personnel gain access to sensitive data, including biometric data. This can occur through hacking, phishing emails, social engineering, or even from insiders within an organization.Another significant risk associated with biometric data governance is the potential for false positives and false negatives. False positives occur when an individual is incorrectly identified as someone else, while false negatives occur when an individual is not identified despite having valid credentials.

Real-life Example

One example of a data breach involving biometric data occurred in 2019 when a database containing millions of facial recognition records was discovered on the internet. The database belonged to a Chinese AI company and included images, names, and other sensitive information about individuals. While the actual impact of this data breach is unclear, it highlights the vulnerability of biometric data and the need for robust governance measures.

The Future of Biometric Data Governance

As technology continues to evolve, the use of biometric data is only going to increase. With this increased usage, the requirement for robust governance measures will also grow.In the future, we can expect to see the development of more advanced biometric technologies that are more secure and efficient. This will require ongoing updates to our policies and procedures to keep up with the advancements.

Real-life Example

One example of an emerging biometric technology is behavioral biometrics. This technology captures unique behavioral traits such as typing patterns, mouse movements, and other behavioral patterns that can be used to authenticate users. As this technology gains popularity, it will require new policies and procedures to govern its usage and storage.


In conclusion, biometric data governance is critical for ensuring the privacy and security of individuals. By establishing policies and controls for online storage, we can protect biometric data from unauthorized access or misuse. Furthermore, we can ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, enhancing both reputation and brand value.While biometric technologies continue to evolve, we must continue to update our policies and procedures to keep up with these advancements. This will require ongoing training and awareness programs, regular assessments, and vigilance to identify any vulnerabilities and vulnerabilities. Only by doing so can we establish a secure and reliable ecosystem for biometric data. See you again in another exciting article!

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