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EAB virtual events to examine biometric systems’ demographic fairness

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EAB virtual events to examine biometric systems’ demographic fairness

The European Association of Biometrics (EAB) has unveiled the schedule for its first series of online events slated for March 2021.

A press release from the association championing issues around digital ID and biometrics across Europe said the series of events will begin with a free online seminar on March 9, to be followed by two conferences on March 15 and 30.

With “demographic fairness in biometric systems” as theme of the event, the press release says organizers will be seeking to discuss questions around whether tags on certain algorithmic decisions as being ‘biased,’ ‘unfair,’ ‘sexist’ or ‘racist,’ are justified; and whether citizens and policy-makers should be concerned about such labels.

The EAB notes that these topics have recently become hotly debated in the context of the recent proliferation of biometric technologies in personal, commercial and government applications.

As an integral part of systems for surveillance, access control, and operational identity management, biometrics directly or indirectly affect billions of people around the world, the organization states.

Organized in collaboration with Hochschule Darmstadt and Fraunhofer IGD, and sponsored by EAB partners Idemia and Secunet, the March series of events is expected to rally experts from the academia, industry and government circles with the aim of extensively discussing the main topic, and then make proposals for the way forward.

Experts speakers from around the biometrics field confirmed for the EAB virtual event series include Aythami Morales of the Universidad Autónoma Madrid (UAM), Jacob A. Hasselgren, John Howard and Yevgeniy Sirotin of Maryland Test Facilities (MdTF) operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Patrick Grother of National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Tiago Pereira of IDIAP. Panelists will include Irina Orssich of the European Commission, Pierre Gacon of Idemia, Ramon Blanco of eu-LISA and Silke Bargstädt-Franke of Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security (BSI).

Other attendees, the announcement notes, will include other relevant stakeholders such as government developers, end-users of biometric systems, researchers, post-graduate students, and policy-makers.

While the opening seminar of March 9 will be gratis, organizers have announced that the participation fee for the workshops will be €200,00 (roughly US$242,400) for normal attendees, €100,00 for EAB members, €50,00 for early bird EAB members, and free for students and speakers.

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