This author's articles
22 April 2009
This paper examines the British approach to using biometrics for ‘security’ and verification of identity purposes. It begins by outlining the Government’s roll-out of biometric ID documents, examines some of the criticisms of the Information Commissioner, and scrutinizes the use of biometrics in schools. It concludes that technologies for security exacerbate insecurities and that digi-governance requires a rethink if informed consent, accountability and legal remedies are to be credible.
4 December 2006
Council regulation amending Regulation/(EC) 1030/2002 laying down a uniform format for residence permits for third-country nationals provides for a uniform format for a residence permit issued as a stand alone document. This permit shall include a Radio Frequency Chip containing a facial image (within two years of the adoption of technical measures) and include fingerprints in interoperable formats (within three years). The introduction of these two biometric identifiers in the residence permit is justified by the assumption that it is crucial in combating document fraud and fraudulent use to establish a more reliable link between the holder and the residence permit. This assumption is however not quantified in terms of the numbers of fraudulent cases which would be detected. Nor is there any acknowledged assessment of the ways the biometric identifiers chosen can be sabotaged or the system used fraudulently. In view of the many unknowns, such as the public reaction to being fingerprinted or the lack of experience in using these techniques at a larger scale, this is quite surprising. At the very least, in the amended proposal the disadvantages of using biometric identifiers at such a wide scale and at such an early stage in their technical development are not acknowledged to have been fundamentally assessed.