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Notre Dame-IBM Tech Ethics Lab announces project funding, including biometrics and digital ID

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Notre Dame-IBM Tech Ethics Lab announces project funding, including biometrics and digital ID

The Notre Dame-IBM Tech Ethics Lab has announced 26 projects recommended for funding, including those with a biometrics and digital ID focus, earmarking a total of more than $500,000.

The projects were submitted by various higher education institutions and companies following the lab’s initial Call for Proposals (CFP) in fall 2021.

The CFP specifically called for projects focusing on six core themes concerning the ethics of scale, automation, identification, prediction, persuasion, and adoption applications.

The Tech Ethics Lab said it received more than 100 proposals, most of which were from North America, Africa, and Europe.

“We are humbled by the robust response to our inaugural Call for Proposals from applicants from every corner of the globe,” says Elizabeth Renieris, the lab’s founding director.

“We are happy to provide funding to the awarded projects, confident they will provide valuable insights into these critical themes in technology ethics, and look forward to sharing those learnings with the lab’s wider community,” she adds.

Renieris also recently submitted comments on the U.S. government request for information on public and private sector uses of biometrics.

Among the projects selected is one from UK-based nonprofit technology company Simprints focusing on developing a handbook and webinar highlighting how to responsibly use biometric technologies in international development contexts.

Another project focusing on biometrics was submitted by a joint team from CETI, Portland State University, HRH Media Group, and independent researcher Shankar Narayan.

The latter describes ways to connect community members potentially impacted by biometric surveillance technologies with regulators, lawmakers, and technology producers with the goal of creating a community-centered agenda for biometric technologies.

“New technologies are unlocking insights and innovative solutions with potential to solve some of society’s biggest challenges, but ethics and responsibility must remain at the heart of how these technologies are built and deployed,” explains co-director of the Notre Dame-IBM Tech Ethics Lab, Betsy Greytok.

These principles are also at the core of another of the approved projects, namely the one from Data Rights Lab and Digital Security Group.

As part of its development, the awardees Divine Enkando and Narcisse Mbunzama are working towards the development of a report and workshops on the risks and benefits of digital ID systems used in four Central African countries.

“We look forward to the work these projects will deliver and are confident they will advance global thinking and best practices for how organizations can maintain public trust in these new solutions,” Greytok concludes.

The selected projects will be developed and completed this year, and the results will be available on the lab’s website.

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