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Biometrics and personal identity : an alternative philosophical approach to the mainstream debate

Casiraghi, Simone (2018) Biometrics and personal identity : an alternative philosophical approach to the mainstream debate.

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Abstract:Recently, biometrics technologies have been proposed as a solution for more efficient, secure and objective identification practices. My aim is to show how a philosophical analysis of biometrics under the lens of theories of personal identity could add new nuances to the current debate. In particular, I have focused on so-called first generation biometrics for contemporary practices of identity management. The main research question is: to what extent the study of biometrics technologies through the philosophy of personal identity could offer new perspectives to the existing ethical debate? In this work, I challenge the mainstream arguments of opponents and supporters of biometrics, and show how a thorough investigation of personal identity could ‘bridge’ the gap between these two positions. Making citizens ‘readable’ not only gives the state a Panopticon-like power to constantly keep track of them, but also give persons a ground to claim for their rights. This is not to say that biometrics should be blindly supported, since there will always be some ethical problems arising from epistemological loopholes in identity management systems. However, the use of biometrics for identification could be morally justified providing that it is used in a responsible and more conscious way.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:08 philosophy
Programme:Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society MSc (60024)
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