The Thoughtful Biometrics Workshop


March 8, 2021 all-day

Biometrics technology is being used in a wide range of contexts and there in this range of existing and potential uses, there are many questions about the ethical and socially good uses.

Our vision for the convene a range of constituencies whose work touches on biometrics and use in the real world.

  • Biometrics Community
  • Researchers and scientist who is looking for new ideas to work on
  • Identity Community
  • Commercial Users of systems
  • Regulators and policy makers
  • Cybersecurity Professionals
  • Privacy Professionals
  • Humanitarian Groups
  • Police Accountability Groups
  • Citizen Watchdog Groups
  • Students and Researchers

We hope that the conversations catalyzed at the event are starting points for ongoing work in fora that touch on biometrics issues.

This event is a 3 day virtual virtual event.

It is on MondayWednesday and Friday the second week of March 2021.

Each day will begin at 9am PST to 1pm PST / Noon EST to 5 EST.

We ask you to as best you can fully commit to being at the event for the full time. The event is co-created by the participants and is meant to support in-depth dialogue and interaction to fully explore Thoughtful Biometrics as a community.

Each morning of the event all the attendees will gather together and co-create the agenda for the day – you can read more about the format below.

We are considering questions such as:

  • How do biometrics work?
  • How are biometrics being used?
  • What are the dangers of using biometrics?
  • What are the appropriate and even good uses of biometrics?

Our society is complex. The systems within it are complex and built by networks of professionals each with their own deep technical expertise.

One of the challenges we face now is that these professionals are so deep in their own fields they rarely talk to those in neighboring communities who are technologies all come together in these systems.

We note that there are discussions happening between these professionals but usually within companies and small groups bubbles that have never been open or include more individuals in an open and transparent discussion.

Our hope is this event creates more cross-pollination and exploration of the technologies along with the social and policy implications of them. We invite discussion about tangible risks/threat models and all levels from the micro to the macro systems.

We want to expand the conversation, inclusive to support “hearing” the voices at the edges.

We welcome the participation of people who ask serious questions about these systems.

We also want to invite those active in the industry who want to respond in a meaningful way to thoughtful criticism. Our vision for the conference is inspired by our ongoing participation in

This conference is not to “sell” biometrics products like the Connect:ID Conference or K(n)ow Identity Conference by OWI.

We have several starting axioms for this event:

Biometrics are a technology that is being used and will not be vanishing.

There are a range of uses for these technologies that can be good and can be bad.

We value discernment about the application of biometrics technology.

About the Format

Our inspiration for this event comes from the Internet Identity Workshop, an event that uses the Open Space Technology to co-create the agenda live the day of the event. There are no keynotes or panels, it’s all about exploring the topic with professional peers from a range of industries. We are curating videos that people who are attending can watch ahead of time to get up to speed about some of the technologies and topics of interest but the format at the event is discussion driven and about peer learning. We do know great people who will be there and it is the attendees who have a passion for learning and contributing to the event that make it the success it is.

The Conveners

Asem Othman, Biometric Scientist

Jack “John Callahan” Software architect and developer

Kaliya Young “Identity Woman” – Digital Identity Expert


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