iRespond

Privacy-Protecting Biometric Identity Solutions
 
Our Story

Deployed in seven countries in SE Asia and Africa, iRespond is working with global NGOs, governmental agencies, and leading organizations in the Healthcare, Clinical Trials and Protection sectors to help bring the invisibles out of the shadows.

Our Vision

iRespond is an international non-profit organization dedicated to solving the identity problem using a unique digital biometric identity solution

Technology

Our proven identity solution generates a unique identifier that can’t be lost, transferred or taken from someone. Our process does not collect or store any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) or Protected Health Information (PHI).

 

About iRespond

Our Solution

Privacy-Protecting Biometric Service

Assigning a unique identifier to a participant is the critical initial enrolment step, requiring precision and repeatability. It is a quality-in, quality-out foundational moment. The iRespond digital identity solution primarily relies on iris biometrics, the best modality after DNA for accuracy and reliability. Other modalities, such as finger or face can be used instead, or in combination with iris.

When a new participant is enrolled, an encrypted biometric template is created from their iris scan and a randomly assigned 12-digit number is drawn from a pool of 90 billion numbers. On subsequent visits, the identity of the participant is verified when their template is matched and the system returns the original 12-digit unique identifier. The system operator uses the pseudonymous identifier within their ecosystem to positively ID the participant.

Privacy-Protecting by Design

The iRespond solution does not collect any personally identifiable information (PII) or protected health information (PHI). Vulnerable populations know their situation could be made worse. NGOs and organizations providing services understand and protect that trust. iRespond is aligned with those core tenets. Our singular mission is to use identity to improve the lives of disadvantaged populations.

Biometric Service Provider

Because identity is either weak or non-existent in many parts of the world, iRespond provides the tools to uniquely identify, enrol, and later verify a participant’s identity. iRespond’s identity process is critical to our customers’ strategy to accurately and efficiently provide aid and services. iRespond’s process easily integrates into healthcare, humanitarian aid, research, and human-rights applications.

 

Applications

Identity, privacy, and efficiency in the delivery of healthcare

Because identity is either weak or non-existent in many parts of the world, iRespond provides the tools to uniquely identify, enrol, and later verify a participant’s identity. iRespond’s identity process is critical to our customers’ strategy to accurately and efficiently provide aid and services. iRespond’s process easily integrates into healthcare, humanitarian aid, research, and human-rights applications.

Co-enrolment detection in clinical drug trials.

iRespond's digital identity solution enables the detection of co-enrolment within a study and across participating clinical trials, protecting data integrity and the safety of participants. Our process does not capture PII or PHI data, promoting trust between researchers and participants.

Facilitating the efficient delivery of humanitarian assistance

Aid agencies providing ongoing healthcare or services turn to iRespond to solve the problem of positively identifying a beneficiary for every interaction. Without trusted identity, NGOs are forced to treat each participant as a new participant, creating an endless cycle of triage care. iRespond’s identity solution allows the agency to provide medical treatments as part of a continuum of care plan, or equitably distribute aid to their beneficiaries. When identity is weak or non-existent, using privacy protecting biometrics creates identity that can’t be lost, transferred, or taken away.

Human Rights abuses can be curbed

Some unscrupulous employers view weak identity as an opportunity to exploit their own workforce, ignoring labor laws, skipping payments, or worse. Undocumented migrant workers are especially vulnerable and number in the tens of millions. The critical first step in curbing abuses is to uniquely identity each human. Subsequent verifications provide the backbone for all efforts to improve their condition.

iRespond implemented a solution for the Royal Thai government in 2019 to combat documented abuses in the SE Asia fishing industry, protecting hundreds of thousands of migrant fishermen.

Projects

Fighting human rights abuses in the Thai fishing industry.

Human trafficking has been taking place for decades within the Thai fishing industry. Undocumented migrant laborers are recruited from Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos with the hopes of sending money home to their families. Once aboard the fishing vessel, some fishermen are expected to work 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, sometimes getting paid, sometimes not. If a worker complains or becomes unable to work, some captains throw them overboard as an expendable asset.

Media exposure to these practices caused world-wide outrage and the European Union threatened sanctions against the entire Thai fishing industry. To forestall economic disaster and eradicate an immoral practice, the Royal Thai Government teamed with iRespond to develop a system to account for every worker leaving from or returning to a Thai port. 170,000 migrant fishermen are currently enrolled through the iRespond system, providing basic human rights to a population that previously experienced human-slavery conditions.

Decentralised identity for refugees in Thailand.

For decades Karen and Karenni ethnic minorities have been fleeing conflict and persecution in Myanmar to the relative safety of refugee camps in nearby Thailand. Dwindling food rations due to donor fatigue and poor long-term prospects creates pressure to leave the camps. Half of the residents were born in the camps, making them stateless and without any identification. Many others are being treated for chronic illness, with no methodology to access their medical records once they leave the camps.

iRespond and International Rescue Committee (IRC) partnered on an identity pilot with the goal of developing privacy-protecting decentralised identity, portability of credentials, and improved continuum of care. In addition to health credentials, livelihood credentials will also be issued to assist in employment opportunities. The pilot is funded through ID2020.

99.86% user acceptance for HIV testing in Kenya

The Center for Global Health at the University of Washington selected iRespond's biometric identification system to protect patient privacy and link their electronic records. Their study included routine HIV testing and counselling (HTC) at 4 sites in Kenya.

Out of 8,794 patients enrolled, 99.86% agreed to register using iRespond. The operator reported that the most significant accomplishment of this work was the linkage of records for patients with HIV in an automated fashion (no ID cards, personal identifiers). Being able to connect patient records from the testing facility to the care facility, both within the same site or different sites, was a quantum leap for this community. This information has enhanced individual tracking within the HIV care continuum.

Protecting at-risk populations in Myanmar

Population Services International (PSI) provides HIV testing for high-risk groups in Myanmar where an HIV diagnosis can lead to serious discrimination. iRespond solves the critical problem of ensuring that patient records remain anonymous.

PSI’s network of 21 clinics provides health services to HIV positive patients, and individuals in the system can visit any clinic and be checked in using an iris scan. iRespond's process accurately connects them to their diagnosis and treatment plan. Confidentiality is maintained while improving their coordinated care.

Johns Hopkins and CDC chose iRespond in Senegal

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) supported a national reference library to develop reliable data on HIV in Senegal where HIV is the fourth most common cause of death. Incentives resulted in participants enrolling in multiple trials.

John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health needed an accurate patient database that also protects confidentiality. iRespond enabled researchers to build a national database of HIV prevalence without duplication or any link to personally identifiable information (PII).

Vaccinating against HPV in Sierra Leone

Immunisation protocol management is another benefit of our process. In Sierra Leone, we supported a groundbreaking Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination program. Since the HPV vaccine comes in a series of critically-timed injections, it is important to track patients who have not completed their vaccination series.

iRespond's technology connected four major hospitals, enabling them to share anonymous vaccination data across a centralised digital health network. Before iRespond, healthcare providers had to rely on the patient to learn where they were in the series of shots. The lack of good data led to many young women not completing the full series, resulting in incomplete protection from HPV - a cause of infertility, pain, and sometimes cancer.

 
 
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Newsweek

Blockchain, also known as distributed ledger technology, could remove the traditional barriers to establishing identity for vulnerable populations.

 

We partner with some of the worlds leading organisations.

 
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