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Biometrics and digital ID raise policy questions; Simprints and Yoti have answers

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Biometrics and digital ID raise policy questions; Simprints and Yoti have answers

As debates over digital IDs and biometric data privacy become more heated, identity solutions companies are hoping to bring more understanding of the topic among technology, law and policy experts.

Non-profit technology company Simprints issued a new guide on biometric technology called the Responsible Biometric Deployment Handbook last week. The purpose of the guide is to explore biometric systems deployment and data protection while its targeted audience is humanitarian and development communities.

The handbook details technical and operational aspects of deploying biometric systems and considerations when choosing a vendor and assessing risks.

“The biometric market has historically been a ‘closed market,’ with a lot of information hidden from clients and only mentioned for a fee […] “We are about to change that, this is the first step and many more to come!” Simprints Chief Product Officer Alexandra Grigore says on LinkedIn.

The UK-based company provides biometric solutions for identifying beneficiaries of different programs in developing countries. Its partners include charity and humanitarian organizations such as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Mercy Corps and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) as well as companies, including Arm, Autodesk and NEC.

The handbook was written by Simprints’ former director of privacy, responsible data and risk James Eaton-Lee and funded by the Notre Dame-IBM Tech Ethics Lab. The document includes a basic primer on key concepts in biometrics policy and business, a guide on implementing biometric tools focused on humanitarian and development applications, risk management steps and more.

An introduction to the handbook is also available as a webinar.

Yoti issues guide to digital identity

Digital identity company Yoti, on the other hand, has released its own guide for understanding digital IDs, aimed at the general public, non-profits, journalists, academics and technology experts.

The Digital Identity Toolkit has been designed to help readers find “everything they need to know about digital identities” without diving into lengthy technical reports. The 20-page document contains an introduction to identity,  an explainer on digital IDs and their solutions, an introduction to data privacy and security as well as case studies.

Yoti has recently received attention after a report from the Verge highlighted difficulties and privacy concerns of implementing age recognition systems. The company’s CEO Robin Tombs has pushed back against claims of surveillance, clarifying that its face age estimation system does not recognize and identify anyone.

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