ICO orders Serco to stop using facial recognition on staff

23/02/2024 | ICO

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has issued an enforcement notice to a number of Serco subsidiaries, ordering the companies to stop using facial recognition and fingerprint scanning technology to monitor employee attendance and timekeeping. Following an investigation, the ICO discovered that the technologies were used in 38 different locations and had processed the biometric data of over 2000 employees. The ICO said that Serco was unable to explain why technology was proportionate or necessary and that no alternative methods were offered to the employees. 

Information Commissioner John Edwards criticized the use of biometric data, stating that it poses significant risks of harm in case of inaccuracies or security breaches and that "you can't reset someone's face or fingerprint like you can reset a password." Mr Edwards went on to criticise Serco for failing to consider the risks and for not giving employees an option to opt-out. 

The enforcement notice was issued on the same day as the ICO published new guidance for organisations using biometric data.

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Facial recognition, biometrics

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