Berglind Ólafsdóttir successfully defended her Master’s thesis Towards Inclusive Biometric Systems Assessing Face, Iris, and Fingerprint Recognition for Individuals with Congenital Disabilities

Biometric systems are a convenient and secure way to identify or verify an individual, utilising biological or behavioural characteristics. In recent years, these systems have become more widespread in various domains. With the evolution of this technology, ethical concerns have emerged regarding the inclusiveness of these systems, especially regarding minority groups. Most research today has emphasised investigating biases towards race and gender in face recognition algorithms. Unfortunately, little effort has been put into studying how inclusive biometric systems work for disabled individuals, who account for 15\% of the world’s population. This thesis aims to address the gap in knowledge and shed light on this important matter. The findings of the thesis indicate disparities in the difficulties faced by disabled individuals compared to non-disabled individuals in combination with biometric systems being significantly less utilised by disabled individuals. Furthermore, it was observed that non-disabled individuals perceive biometric systems as being more inclusive towards disabled individuals than people living with disabilities perceive them to be. The conducted usability experiment moreover confirmed that accessibility issues are a real challenge for disabled individuals when using biometric systems. The results of this thesis will hopefully encourage further research in this important research field.