U.K. can lead the world on biometrics

Published 12 December 2008

New study argues that the U.K. biometrics industry can lead the world if it were less fragmented and had an independent voice

The sun may have set on the British Empire, but this does not mean the Brits cannot play a leading global role. Thus, a new study argues that the United Kingdom could take a global lead in the biometrics industry — but only of it overcomes its currently fragmented approach and lack of an independent focal point. The research was done by the University of Kent and the U.K. Biometrics Institute (UKBI).

Vnunet’s Phil Muncaster writes that the report, commissioned by the government-backed Cyber Security Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), argued that U.K. small and medium sized firms are carrying out innovative work in the area, and that consumers are willing to accept biometrics despite some privacy concerns. It found, however, that SMEs are struggling to sell their ideas into the mass market, suppliers could do more to answer public concerns, and the government is not doing enough to stimulate the sector.

We need to ensure that information is flowing effectively between these parties,” argued Simon Fance, project officer for the UKBI. “There is also a need for a single, informed and independent voice [which] government, the public and industry can turn to.” Fance argued that the opportunity for the UK to lead the world in producing biometric technologies is great but it risks being held back if these issues are not addressed. “The global market is really taking off - it’s going to happen, but are we going to direct it or are we going to be recipients?” he said.