Fingerprint identification, dates back to over a century. In Canada, biometric identification has been in use by some of its agencies for quite some time. Canada has been collecting the fingerprints of refugee claimants, detainees, and individuals ordered to be deported from Canada. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has been collecting the fingerprints of detainees and people under removal order from Canada since 1993.With the addition to the Touch ID to the iPhone 5s, the discussion around fingerprint identification technology and the related privacy concerns has grown. Touch ID is a bit of magic, but it requires a bit more thought than just registering your fingerprints.
Fingerprints require sophisticated methods of differentiation and identification. Biometrics are generally used for security and identification purposes, and are used to restrict access to physical locations and to information, or to determine an individual’s presence in a database. Biometric systems record personal information about identifiable individuals.
In some Canadian jurisdictions, personal information is defined as recorded information about an identifiable individual, other than contact information. Under that broad definition, any biometric information is personal information. That means their use by the federal government falls under the provisions of the Privacy Act. Personal biometric data may also be collected, used or disclosed by private-sector organizations, which may fall under the jurisdiction of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, or PIPEDA. Both the Privacy Act and PIPEDA are overseen by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. If organizations do not have sufficient, state-of-the-art expertise in biometrics, they can easily fall victim to misleading information.
You can learn more about fingerprint identification technology and how to comply under PIPEDA here: https://www.priv.gc.ca/en/privacy-topics/health-genetic-and-other-body-information/gd_bio_201102/