Upcoming Community Call: Biometrics in the Humanitarian Sector – an update on our research so far

Quito Tsui

In April we kicked off new research on the use of biometrics within the Humanitarian sector, in partnership with the Open Society Foundation’s migration initiative.

Following on from our previous 2018 report with Oxfam that looked at the risks, harms and challenges of using biometric data for humanitarian purposes, this new research explores what’s changed (and what’s stayed the same) in the sector in the last four years, and takes a deeper look at organisational policies on biometrics, and the benefits risks and potential harms of using biometric systems. 

As we wrap up our research and writing, we are keen to share our initial findings and have a broader discussion about what changes are needed when it comes to the use of biometric technologies in the humanitarian sector.

Register for our second community call on 27 October, 9-10AM EST/ 3-4 PM CET

All are welcome! Whether you’re a practitioner, a civil society organisation working with impacted communities, or just keen to learn more, join us in our Community Call. Along with presenting our findings, we will create space for dialogue and reflection around the complexities of using biometric technologies within humanitarian contexts. 

What will we be talking about?

Our focus in this call will be to think through what needs to change in order to encourage a more responsible use of biometrics within the humanitarian sector. 

Some of the key questions that will be guiding our discussions are: 

  1. How do we think about necessity when it comes to using biometric systems? (e.g how do we compare biometrics to alternatives, what kind of evidence exists on risks and benefits, and what kind of evidence is lacking?)
  2. What sort of policy-making practices and standards are important for creating a more cohesive approach to biometric use?
  3. What kind of changes need to take place within the larger humanitarian landscape to facilitate the responsible and thoughtful use of biometric systems?

You can find more background on

our last community call and this project here.  See you on October 27!

Photo by Marek Piwnicki via Unsplash.


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