Ethics group to oversee use of large data sets by the Home Office

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The Biometrics and Forensics Ethics Group (BFEG), a non-departmental public body, will now be asked to consider ethical issues relating to large and complex data sets. The BFEG will provide independent oversight of the Data Ethics Governance Framework, which was established to ensure balanced consideration of the use of data within the Home Office.

The move is aimed at strengthening the public’s assurance on the use of data within the department.

Chris Hughes OBE, Chair of the BFEG, said:

With ever increasing volumes of data and the implementation of new data protection legislation it’s more appropriate than ever to expand the BFEG remit to consider large and complex data sets.

The expansion will build on the committee’s existing work and will work to ensure that the use of an individual’s personal data is legitimate and proportionate, contributing to justified trust in the Home Office.

The BFEG will continue to consider the ethical aspects of:

  • the application and operation of technologies which produce biometric and forensic data and identifiers;
  • ethical issues relating to scientific services provided to the police service and other public bodies within the criminal justice system;
  • applications for research involving access to biometric or forensic data; and
  • matters relating to the management, operation and use of biometric or forensic data.
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