ICO Guidance on biometric recognition

The ICO has published guidance on biometric recognition, covering:

  • What biometric data is
  • When it is considered special category data
  • Its use in biometric recognition systems
  • The data protection requirements that must be complied with

This guidance is important for any employers who currently use, or who are proposing to introduce, systems that use biometric recognition (eg facial or fingerprint recognition).

AI Regulation

Governments around the world are grappling with the issue of AI regulation. The UK government has published its response to its recent consultation on the matter and now requires a number of regulators (including the ICO) to provide outline guidance in their respective areas by 30 April 2024. The government’s current proposed approach is one of voluntary regulation, rather than binding rules.

The ICO has some existing guidance, last updated in March 2023 aimed at ensuring fairness in AI and addressing the issues of bias and discrimination. Employers seeking to utilise AI in relation to decision making (eg recruitment) need to keep an eye on developments in this area. This is particularly the case for global employers for whom different rules and guidance will apply in different jurisdictions (for example, the imminent EU Artificial Intelligence Act).

Use of generative AI

One of the recent headline-grabbing AI news stories was the launch of Google’s Gemini product. In an effort to address bias in its training data, the model appeared to over-compensate, resulting in its creation of images that caused offence.

It is a reminder of the relative youth of generative AI products and the risks of its use. If employers do not currently have them in place, they may want to introduce Generative AI policies and training to employees, giving them guidance on whether they can use such tools, how to use them responsibly and the risks of which they need to be aware.

If you have any queries you would like to discuss regarding the contents of this article, please contact Rena Magdani or Matt McBride.

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The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.

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