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Biometrics as a tool to reduce inequalities and increase transparency and program efficiency in the development space

Sarah Cottee June 23, 2022

Biometrics systems are commonplace in the western world, and fraught with risk. For vulnerable populations, these risks of data privacy are potentially life threatening. In this session, we’ll explore the work that we’re doing integrating biometrics within healthcare and humanitarian programmes, as well as developing new Biometric Template Protection methods – ways of manipulating extracted biometric data to make them safer and add privacy-protecting properties – as a way to fundamentally shift the way that we deliver programmes and services in humanitarian contexts. 

Facial recognition using AI models is currently used in many low-middle income countries as a way of linking people to their medical, financial and educational records when no official documentation exists. However, most models are biased towards lighter skin tones and are designed to run on high performance devices. At Simprints, we’ve built our algorithm of diverse and representative datasets, and our fingerprint scanner is 228% more accurate with scarred, worn, and damaged fingerprints (common in low resource settings).

We will also talk about how integrating biometrics within programme delivery has increased program efficiency (healthcare workers pulled up records 10x times faster than manual name search), and also acts as a way to increase transparency in development and ensure that every dollar, every vaccine and every service is reaching the intended recipient.


Fireside Chat (3 speakers maximum)

Meta Themes

  • Reimagine Systems

  • Accountability


Purpose and Desired Outcome

Understanding the need for a different approach to technology depending on the context A call to action for ethical, open tech to be implemented in development Showing that there is a way to track every dollar spent and increase accountability and transparency in development


  • Government

  • Allocators (Family Offices, HNW Individuals, Foundations)

  • Entrepreneurs


  • NameSarah Cottee
  • TitleSenior Partnerships Manager
  • OrganizationSimprints
  • StatusConfirmed
  • NameAlexandra Grigore
  • TitleCo-Founder & CPO
  • OrganizationSimprints
  • StatusInvited
  • NameVedrana KRIVOKUĆA HAHN
  • TitleBiometrics Research Associate
  • OrganizationIdiap
  • StatusInvited
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