Home Business Insights & Advice The rise of biometrics in the United Kingdom

The rise of biometrics in the United Kingdom

by Sponsored Content
21st Feb 22 3:23 pm

Logging into your device has never felt more personalised, more convenient, or more secure with the use of biometric authentication. It’s now become a mandatory feature for all smartphones and devices to include thumbprint or facial recognition technology.

Biometrics has been taking the cybersecurity world by storm, but as mentioned by ExpressVPN’s research, are we aware of the finer details? Convenience is important, but is it worth the increased collection of biometric data that happens in common daily scenarios.

How your biometric data is collected

Whether you realise it or not, you’re frequently offering your biometric data to others. Setting up your phone to read your thumbprint requires that information is stored somewhere. As we move to cloud-based biometrics, it’s not just being stored on the device itself. No, your biometric information is being stored in a database where you need to worry about more than just your device being accessed without authorisation.

Another large source that collects biometric data? Your favourite social media sites. Facebook recently faced a hefty fine of 650 million USD related to their photo tagging technology. Why? Because this feature violated users’ privacy rights and tracked them when they hadn’t given them explicit permission to do so. As a result, Facebook deleted 1 billion users’ biometric data.

In addition to your devices and your scrolling habit, you’re likely also sharing your biometric data with businesses such as banks, and sometimes your employer to authenticate payments. Government agencies may also be collecting this data as part of routine identification procedures in order to maintain national security standards.

Biometrics in the UK

In the UK, it’s quite common to see Biometric Residence Permits (BRP). These permits are used to confirm your identity, your right to study, rent property, or work in the UK A BRP includes your name, date and place of birth, a photo of your face, and a fingerprint.

You’ll need a BRP when applying for a Visa and plan on residing in the UK for longer than six months. You’ll also need one if you’re applying for certain travel documents or if you’re looking to move permanently to the UK

This isn’t the only use of biometrics in the UK, though. Biometric-based checkpoints are being implemented and= used for proof of identification when crossing borders. While we think of biometrics as new technology, it actually has a long history of being used to classify people in the UK.

Protecting your biometric data

Our biometrics technology has undoubtedly improved, but that technology also comes with risks. Databases storing your biometrics can be hacked and data stolen. Fortunately,  you can take steps to keep your data safe.

For starters, carefully choose who you share your data with. As we move toward cloud-based storage options, it’s more likely that large databases storing biometric information will be compromised. If your data is stored there, this means your biometric data can be used without your authorisation.

If you aren’t using it already, now is also the time to set up multi-factor authentication. This can help protect your biometric data even if it does wind up in the wrong hands. As always, make sure you store any physical pieces of identification — like your BRP — securely where they can’t be stolen or used without permission.

Finally, remember that your security measures are only as good as the networks you’re using. Invest in a Virtual Private Network that will encrypt your data and prevent poachers from intercepting your information. Install it on your devices and networks for complete protection.

Looking to the future

It’s clear that biometrics are quickly becoming an integral part of life in the UK. Protect your information now and get into healthy habits to reduce risk of data theft in the future.

Leave a Comment


Sign up to our daily news alerts

[ms-form id=1]