What is biometric data retention and why is it important?
Biometric data retention refers to the period of time during which an organization retains an individual’s biometric data. The retention period can vary depending on the purpose of the data collection, the applicable laws and regulations, and the organization’s policies. Some organizations may retain biometric data for a few hours, while others may retain it for years.It is important to properly manage biometric data retention for several reasons. First, biometric data is highly sensitive and personal, and any mishandling or misuse can result in significant harm to individuals. Second, biometric data can be used for identification and authentication purposes, which means that it can be used to access sensitive information or areas. This underscores the need for proper retention and protection of biometric data.Finally, biometric data retention also plays a role in compliance with data protection regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). These regulations govern the collection, use, storage, and sharing of personal data, including biometric data. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in significant fines and reputational damage.
What are the biometric data retention periods for different industries?
The biometric data retention period can vary depending on the industry, purpose of data collection, and applicable regulations. Some industries may require shorter retention periods, while others may require longer ones. Let’s take a look at some examples:
Banking and finance
Banks and financial institutions may retain customers’ biometric data for a shorter period of time, such as a few hours or days. This is because biometric data is typically used for authentication purposes, such as accessing online accounts or conducting transactions. Once the authentication process is complete, the biometric data may be deleted or destroyed.On the other hand, financial institutions may retain biometric data for a longer period if it is used for anti-fraud or anti-money laundering purposes. In such cases, the retention period may be up to five years or longer, depending on the specific regulations and policies.
Government agencies may retain biometric data for a longer period of time, such as several years or even permanently. This is because biometric data is used for identification purposes, such as for passports or national ID cards. The retention period can vary depending on the type of biometric data and the applicable laws and regulations.For example, the United Kingdom’s Biometric Data Retention and Use by Police Powers Act 2014 allows police forces to retain biometric data on individuals who have been arrested for a certain period of time, even if they are not charged with an offense. The retention period may be up to six years for adults and two years for children.
Retail and hospitality
Retail and hospitality industries may use biometric data for various purposes, such as employee time tracking, customer identification, and access control. The retention period can vary depending on the purpose of data collection and the applicable laws and regulations.For example, a hotel may retain guests’ biometric data for a few days or weeks for access control purposes and then delete it. A retail store may retain employees’ biometric data for the duration of their employment and then delete it.
How do biometric data retention periods comply with data protection regulations?
Biometric data retention periods must comply with various data protection regulations, such as the GDPR and the CCPA. These regulations set out specific requirements for the collection, use, storage, and sharing of personal data, including biometric data. Let’s take a closer look at how biometric data retention policies comply with data protection regulations:
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
The GDPR sets out specific requirements for the retention of personal data, including biometric data. Under the GDPR, personal data must not be kept for longer than necessary for the purposes for which it was collected.This means that organizations must assess the retention periods for biometric data and ensure that they are necessary and proportionate to the purpose of data collection. Organizations must also have a clear retention policy and regularly review and update it.Additionally, the GDPR requires organizations to implement appropriate technical and organizational measures to protect the biometric data from unauthorized access, disclosure, destruction, or alteration.
California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
The CCPA sets out specific requirements for the collection, use, storage, and sharing of personal data, including biometric data. Under the CCPA, organizations must provide consumers with a clear and conspicuous privacy notice that explains the types of personal information collected and the purposes for which it is used.Organizations must also allow consumers to exercise certain rights, such as the right to access, delete, and opt-out of the sale or sharing of their personal information, including biometric data.Finally, organizations must implement reasonable security measures to protect the biometric data from unauthorized access, disclosure, destruction, or alteration.
Real-life examples of biometric data retention
Let’s take a look at some real-life examples of biometric data retention:
Airports around the world use biometric data, such as facial recognition and fingerprints, for security and identification purposes. For example, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) uses facial recognition to verify the identities of travelers at various points of entry, such as checkpoints and boarding gates.Under the CBP’s policy, the biometric data is only retained for a certain period of time, typically 14 days. This allows the CBP to verify the identity of travelers and match them with their travel records, while also protecting their privacy.
Mobile payment apps
Many mobile payment apps, such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet, use biometric data, such as fingerprints, for authentication purposes. The retention period for biometric data can vary depending on the app and the applicable laws and regulations.For example, Apple Pay retains fingerprints for as long as the user keeps the feature enabled, or until the user removes the fingerprint from their device. This is in compliance with the GDPR and other applicable laws and regulations.
Police forces around the world use biometric data, such as facial recognition and fingerprints, for surveillance and criminal investigations. The retention period for biometric data can vary depending on the specific laws and regulations.For example, the Metropolitan Police Service in London retains images captured by facial recognition cameras for 30 days, unless they are matched with a person on a watchlist. In such cases, the images may be retained for up to two years. This policy is in compliance with the GDPR and other applicable laws and regulations.
In conclusion, biometric data retention is a critical aspect of data protection and compliance with various regulations. Organizations must ensure that they retain biometric data for the necessary period, implement appropriate security measures, and comply with applicable laws and regulations. By doing so, they can protect the privacy and security of individuals and avoid fines and reputational damage. See you again in another interesting article.