Consultancy: Ethics briefing and tools for UNICEF on the use of Biometrics, D & A Section, PD - NYHQ, Requisition #515365

Job
from UN Children's Fund
Closing date: 25 Aug 2018

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Background & Rationale

The UNICEF Office of Innovation and Office of Research have recently released several guidance documents for use within UNICEF on ethical issues related to ICT technologies – including GIS and social media (https://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/series/research-briefs/) . This project aims to expand that work to create guidance focused on the use of biometrics within the organization, with a specific focus on the use of biometrics for administrative data systems. The project further envisages the development of tools to help countries work through that guidance in a practical way when looking at implementing a biometric project.

Biometric identification – the use of fingerprints, facial recognition, iris scans etc. – is increasingly being used by UNICEF, national governments and partner agencies to identify children and manage data collection and case management in our programs. At the same time, there is limited information available or indeed guidance on how to manage the potential risks of incorporating this technology into programs in a way that specifically ensures the rights of children are protected. While the potential benefits of biometric technologies are relatively clear, the risks are much more poorly defined and understood, and there are far fewer strategies for mitigating them.

Information technologies and the data that they generate or gather present a number of ethical issues related to the rights of children (Berman and Albright, 2017). These issues include but are not limited to the right to information, the right to privacy, security, freedom from discrimination and the right to have a say in matters that affect them (Berman and Albright, 2017; Girl Effect, 2016; Lupton and Williamson, 2017; Livingstone et al., 2015).

The primary use of biometrics has been in association with administrative data systems, although there has been some use of this technology in surveys particularly in the health and cash transfer settings. The use of the technology has recognized application in: assigning a secure legal identity (linked to birth registration and the achievement of SDG target 16.9) linked to a formalized national CRVS and/or national identity system; in case management in order to provide a continuum of services to an individual in different settings and over time (particularly important in health settings, child protection and in the context of children on the move); and in support of a data linkage processes – such as a national identity system that allows a broad range of administrative data sets such as education, health, child protection, nutrition, social welfare etc., to be matched together. UNICEF is undertaking a series of complimentary projects to better understand the potential, risks, and appropriate use of this rapidly developing technology across the Data, Research and Policy Division, Program Division, Office of Innovation and Office of Research. These will cover a range of work from the ethical considerations, to the practical integration of this technology in the field (in both UNICEF supported projects and our own data products) and innovative use cases. The work will also complement a broader project led by Program Division which is underway to examine data protection and privacy more broadly across administrative data systems, and work on biometric applications in the East and South Africa Regional Office.

This piece of work will focus on the ethics of using biometric technology in order to address the demand for support from country and regional offices, and provide a minimum set of standards, based on the best available evidence at this time, that offices should meet in designing or supporting projects in order to protect the rights of children. It will also contribute to the identification of gaps and priorities for future research as this technology advances.

Purpose

To support ethical practice in the implementation and utilization of biometric technology and attendant data, this project aims to develop a briefing document to inform staff of the ethical implications of various technologies that are directly relevant to current and future technologies being adopted/likely to be adopted by UNICEF, and provide tangible guidance and tools to support staff looking to support or engage with projects including this technology. A summary brief will also be produced providing an overview of ethical implications and guidance.

The document will explore:

  • A description/ overview of the technology, including

  • Broad use case scenarios
  • A review of available evidence and thinking, to specifically examine

  • Benefits, by broad use category
  • Risks, including future potential risks as uptake of the technology becomes more widespread.
  • Evidence gaps related to the potential risks and benefits to inform future work at UNICEF
  • Ethical considerations, from a specific child rights perspective, including

  • Practical guidance in assessing when and how to use biometric technology, including a risk framework and tools
  • Minimum standards for practice to ensure that child rights are protected in all UNICEF supported projects engaging this technology
  • Guidance on how to access additional support/ advice for next steps once an initial assessment of a project has been completed and a decision has been made to progress
  • Expected results:

    The work will be based on a review of the literature and case studies from within UNICEF (HQ and Regional Offices) and external partners where available – drawing on evaluation reports, internal documentation and (remote) semi-structured interviews with key project staff. The paper should highlight the critical ethical issues to consider and best practice in the use of, collection, storage, analysis and linkage of biometric data. The consultant will need to work collaboratively with the advisory team, and the Admin data task team to identify potential examples and issues.

    The project will be undertaken in two stages: a preparatory / research stage, and a writing/ production stage. By the conclusion of each phase of the project, the selected consultant will be expected to have accomplished the following:

    Phase 1:

  • Confirmation of the project plan and approach
  • Guiding questions for interviews/ data collection
  • Literature review methodology (building on existing work of PD) including approach to extracting key themes and issues
  • Summary of key issues for inclusion in the document.
  • An outline of the key guidance needs and proposed formats for guidance tools
  • Phase 2:

  • Zero draft of the guidance note for review by the writing team
  • Second draft incorporating feedback for review by the Admin data task team
  • Final polished document incorporating feedback from the Project team and Admin data task team.
  • Draft summary document, including tools (framework/ checklist/ plan as agreed in phase 1)
  • Final summary document incorporating feedback.
  • Duty Station :NYHQ. The work may be undertaken remotely, although there are advantages to the consultant being available in New York. All work equipment (laptop, phone etc.) must be provided by the consultant.

    Timeframe

    Start date:10 September 2018 End date: 10 December 2018

    Deliverables

    Days

    Deadline

    Phase 1:

  • Confirmation of the project plan and approach
  • Guiding questions for interviews/ data collection
  • Literature review methodology (building on existing work of PD) including approach to extracting key themes and issues
  • Summary of key issues for inclusion in the document.
  • An outline of the key guidance needs and proposed formats for guidance tools
  • 20

    30 October 2018

    Phase 2:

  • Zero draft of the guidance note for review by the writing team
  • Second draft incorporating feedback for review by the Admin data task team
  • 10

    15 November 2018

    Phase 3:

  • Final polished document incorporating feedback from the Project team and Admin data task team.
  • Draft summary document, including tools (framework/ checklist/ plan as agreed in phase 1)
  • Final summary document incorporating feedback.
  • 10

    10 December 2018

    TOTAL:

    40

    Key competences, technical background, and experience required Deadline

  • At least 5 years of experience in applied research (including qualitative research), ethics, or relevant system work related to data systems or statistical collections.
  • A post graduate degree in social statistics, demography or other field relevant to the work of the consultancy.
  • Proven research skills (including quantitative analysis) and demonstrated record of writing for publication.
  • Experience assessing new technology or approaches for data collection and in formulating guidance documents and tools
  • A solid understanding of UNICEF's core areas of work and familiarity with the convention on the rights of the child.
  • Experience working with administrative data systems is an asset.
  • Excellent written and spoken language skills, another UN language would be an asset.
  • Please indicate your ability, availability and daily/monthly rate (in US$) to undertake the terms of reference above (including travel and daily subsistence allowance, if applicable). Applications submitted without a daily/monthly rate will not be considered.

    Remarks

    With the exception of the US Citizens, G4 Visa and Green Card holders, should the selected candidate and his/her household members reside in the United States under a different visa, the consultant and his/her household members are required to change their visa status to G4, and the consultant’s household members (spouse) will require an Employment Authorization Card (EAD) to be able to work, even if he/she was authorized to work under the visa held prior to switching to G4.

    At the time the contract is awarded, the selected candidate must have in place current health insurance coverage.

    Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

    UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.

    How to apply:

    UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organization. To apply, click on the following link http://www.unicef.org/about/employ/?job=515365