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RISE Project Conference in Hong Kong attracts global audience and broadens ethics and security dialogue

The 3rd International Conference on Ethics and Policy of Biometrics and International Data Sharing highlighted the importance of the research carried out within the EU-funded RISE project.

The 3rd International Conference on Ethics and Policy of Biometrics and International Data Sharing held in Hong Kong on January 4-5, 2010, attracted an audience of policy makers, industrial players, and others in examining the key issues facing nations, commercial organizations, and citizens as biometric systems become commonplace and the movement of data across borders becomes more difficult to manage and control. The Conference was organized by and held at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University Biometric Research Centre, which is a member of the RISE Consortium. The issues addressed at the meeting were wide-ranging, and included a look at challenges in human identification, large scale applications, trust, security, forensics, digital identity, amongst others. Previous Conferences have been held in Europe and in the US, and with the launch of the RISE project, the dialogue around ethics, security and biometrics has now been expanded to ensure an effective engagement of Asian stakeholders. Emilio Mordini, of the Centre for Science, Society and Citizenship, and coordinator of the RISE consortium, observed the importance of expanding this dialogue, stating that “considering China only in the context of their role as a strong competitor by western economies is short-sighted. Issues such as privacy and respect for fundamental values must become an element of the international conversation and we should earnestly engage them in an open dialogue, abandoning the often taken, and arrogant, position of being the teacher and instead, accepting the opportunity to learn from our Eastern friend." The expert speakers included policy makers working in the area of data protection and privacy, including John Kropf, deputy Chief Privacy Officer, US Department of Homeland Security, René von Schomberg, European Commission DG Research, Bénédicte Havelange, European Data Protection Supervisor, and Roderick Woo, Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, Hong Kong. The diverse group included speakers from US, European, and Asian universities where both technical and socio-economic issues are being studied, as well as representatives from law enforcement organizations who are examining how ethical issues are impacting the use of biometrics in forensic applications, especially across borders. The next major workshops sponsored by the RISE consortium in 2010 will be held in Brussels on March 25-26 and on September 23-24 on the subjects of “Global mobility of people and data: ethics, policy and security” These workshops will provide input for a multi-stakeholder conference to be held in Brussels in December 2010.

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