The European Association for Biometrics (EAB) is launching a new virtual event series, kicking off with a brief lunch talk and a pair of more extensive conference dates in March. The lunch talk is free and is scheduled for March 9, while the conference dates are March 15 and March 30. The conference is €200 for regular guests, €100 for EAB members, and €50 for EAB members who sign up by January 31. Students, however, are welcome to attend for free.
The theme for the March series will be “Demographic fairness in biometric systems.” In plain terms, that means that the programming will address the subject of bias in biometric systems, which has become an increasingly important topic as developers and the general public have become more aware of the performance limitations of biometric technology.
That is particularly true in the case of facial recognition. Industry leaders like Jumio and Onfido have stressed the need for representative data sets, with the latter going so far as to retrain its algorithm to eliminate potential disparities. A 2019 NIST study similarly found that most facial recognition algorithms exhibit some amount of racial bias.
Having said that, the concerns are not limited to facial recognition. Bias is present with other biometric technologies, including speech recognition.
The EAB virtual series will seek to raise awareness about the issue, and identify some of the next steps that can be taken to address the problem. The event is geared towards and will feature input from a range of different stakeholders, including policy makers, academics, and private technology developers.
The EAB noted that biometric technology has been integrated into surveillance, access control, and identity management systems all over the world, which means that the technology affects the lives of billions of people in some capacity. The organization is planning to release a new white paper based on the discussions at the upcoming virtual events.
January 25, 2021 – by Eric Weiss