Skip to content
Virtual event

Emerging approaches to the regulation of biometrics: The EU, the US and the challenge to the UK

What we can learn from international developments in the governance and regulation of biometric technologies

3d rendered image. Big data technology. Abstract background. Eye viewing Technology concept.
Date and time
1:30pm – 2:30pm, 10 June 2021 (BST)

Biometrics technologies have entered into use across the globe, in advance of regulatory controls.

After years of evidence building, especially concerning racial and gender bias, accuracy and privacy, we are now seeing the emergence of regulatory responses to the use of biometric technologies in both the USA and Europe.

A patchwork of US state-level regulation is emerging, focusing principally on limiting deployments of facial recognition technology. The European Commission’s recent proposals on the regulation of AI have singled out some forms of biometric technology as high risk and imposed strict conditions on their use.

This event looks at what these developments can tell us about the future governance of biometric technologies in the US, Europe and elsewhere – and what UK politicians and regulators could learn from others’ attempts to regulate this diverse and complex set of technologies.

Watch the event back here:

This video is embedded with YouTube’s ‘privacy-enhanced mode’ enabled although it is still possible that if you play this video it may add cookies. Read our Privacy policy and Digital best practice for more on how we use digital tools and data.


  • Imogen Parker

    Associate Director (Society, justice & public services)


  • Amba Kak

    Director of Global Policy and Programmes, AI Now Institute
  • Brenda Leong

    Senior Counsel and Director of AI and Ethics, Future of Privacy Forum
  • Professor Fraser Sampson

    UK Commissioner for the Retention and Use of Biometric Material and UK Surveillance Camera Commissioner

In particular, we ask:

  • Why has there been such a tight focus on facial recognition to date, when other biometric technologies present equivalent benefits and harms?
  • How might regulation effectively address other forms of biometric technologies, such as emotion recognition and categorisation?
  • What issues do the EU and US legislation try to address, and what approaches do they use?
  • Can we talk about an emerging, distributed US approach to the governance of biometrics, or does the US need to introduce federal regulation of the technology?
  • What is the thinking behind the EU’s tiered approach to the regulation of biometric technologies, and does this give more license to some uses and forms of biometrics?
  • What can we learn from these legal and regulatory developments in a global context and, in particular, for the UK’s approach to the governance of biometrics?

This event brings together experts on the regulation of biometric technologies from the UK and elsewhere.

Image credit: koto_feja

Related content