Community Call & New Research Project on Biometric Technologies

Paola Verhaert

What better way to kick off the new year than with exciting news? We are currently working with Oxfam on a research project to inform a responsible approach to the use of biometric technology in Oxfam’s programmatic work, and are excited to open up a broader conversation about biometric technologies with a community call on 24 January 2018!

Oxfam has had a self-imposed moratorium on using biometrics in their work since 2015, which is soon coming to an end. To support them in figuring out what next, we’re conducting research and formulating recommendations, based on interviews and use cases within Oxfam and experiences from other humanitarian agencies.

We’ll produce a report to highlight implications, risks and opportunities associated with biometric technologies. Centring around Oxfam’s values and responsible data policy, the report will also provide recommendations for Oxfam to assess whether and how to consider adopting biometrics for use in Oxfam’s programmes.

Our research will build on extensive desk research, interviews with internal stakeholders at Oxfam and international experts on biometric technologies, and will be complemented by you!

Join the community call on biometric technologies

On Wednesday 24 January at 9AM EST/2PM GMT, we will open up the discussion on the use of biometric technologies in the humanitarian sector with a community call. We’ll be sharing some early findings and topics for discussion, and we’d love to hear your thoughts, particularly if you have first-hand experience of working with biometrics.

On this call, we will be joined by Anna Kondakhchyan of Oxfam GB and Carly Nyst, who is working with us on this research project.

Anyone with an interest or experience in the use of biometric technologies for humanitarian work is welcome to participate. We welcome questions and thoughts on the topic, as the focus of the call will be a discussion with the participants. We’ll be using this shared pad to document notes for the call in a comprehensive and participatory way. The notes will stay live, so no worries if you’re unable to join the call but would like to read what we talked about.

Details on joining the call

We will be using an online conferencing service called UberConference. This service allows us to connect up to 100 participants using VOIP or phone. This is not a video conferencing system, so don’t worry about brushing your hair!

To join the discussion on UberConference, just follow these steps at the time of the meeting:

  1. Using Firefox or Chrome, go to
  2. If you have trouble using your computer for audio, you can connect using your phone. Just dial +1 607-821-7499 (you don’t need a PIN).

UberConference’s System requirements. For help, visit the UberConference FAQs, or the UberConference support portal.

Get in touch

We look forward to connecting with you, and we’re happy to speak to anyone that has worked on these issues or has developed policies for the use of biometric technologies.

Get in touch with us on zara[at] [PGP key] or research[at], or tweet @engnroom.We’ll also be at MERL Tech London to talk about this research project, together with Anna Kondakhchyan of Oxfam GB.