The collection and use of biometric data in the workplace

It is becoming increasingly attractive to employers to introduce technology which facilitates the use of biometric data collection. Biometric data includes the results of the scanning of fingerprints, for example to to clock in and out, or to confirm identity in security areas. Biometric data also potentially includes data obtained from the scanning of finger prints, voice attributes, and other personal characteristics of a person (who may be an employee) such as a person’s retina, iris, face or hand.

In Australia, the Privacy Act (1988) (Commonwealth) excludes employment records from its operation which otherwise deals with the statutory requirements for the collection and use of personal information.

It remains to be seen whether the Australian Government will be tempted to amend the Act to recognize the implications of the increasing collection and use of biometric information