America Identified:Biometric Technology and Society

Cover Image Copyright Year: 2010
Author(s): Lisa S. Nelson
Book Type: MIT Press
Content Type : Books
Topics: Bioengineering
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Abstract

The use of biometric technology for identification has gone from Orwellian fantasy to everyday reality. This technology, which verifies or recognizes a person's identity based on physiological, anatomical, or behavioral patterns (including fingerprints, retina, handwriting, and keystrokes) has been deployed for such purposes as combating welfare fraud, screening airplane passengers, and identifying terrorists. The accompanying controversy has pitted those who praise the technology's accuracy and efficiency against advocates for privacy and civil liberties. In America Identified, Lisa Nelson investigates the complex public responses to biometric technology. She uses societal perceptions of this particular identification technology to explore the values, beliefs, and ideologies that influence public acceptance of technology. Drawing on her own extensive research with focus groups and a national survey, Nelson finds that considerations of privacy, anonymity, trust and confidence in institutions, and the legitimacy of paternalistic government interventions are extremely important to users and potential users of the technology. She examines the long history of government systems of identification and the controversies they have inspired; the effect of the information technology revolution and the events of September 11, 2001; the normative value of privacy (as opposed to its merely legal definition); the place of surveillance technologies in a civil society; trust in government and distrust in the expanded role of government; and the balance between the need for government to act to prevent harm and the possible threat to liberty in government's actions.

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      Front Matter

      Page(s): i - 25
      Copyright Year: 2010

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Half Title, Title, Copyright, Contents, Preface, Introduction View full abstract»

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      Modern Identification Systems

      Page(s): 27 - 57
      Copyright Year: 2010

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: An Evolution of Identification, Anthropometry, Evolution of Biometric Technology, Social Acceptance and Modern Forms of Identification, Assessing Validity and Reliability, Safety of Different Biometric Technologies, Rating Biometric Identifiers, The Currency of Personal Information and Safety of Identifiers, Public Support of Systems of Identification View full abstract»

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      September 11: A Catalyst for Biometrics?

      Page(s): 59 - 80
      Copyright Year: 2010

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: September 11 and the Information Revolution, Change and Continuity after September 11, But for September 11, Would We Be Willing to Accept Biometrics?, September 11 and the American Public View full abstract»

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      Privacy and Biometric Technology

      Page(s): 81 - 104
      Copyright Year: 2010

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: The Norms, Values, and Expectations of Privacy, Privacy, Normative Perceptions of Privacy, Personal Information as Property, Privacy as Social Freedom View full abstract»

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      Anonymity

      Page(s): 105 - 129
      Copyright Year: 2010

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Anonymity and Decisional Autonomy, Historical Antecedents: Anonymity, The Role of Surveillance Technologies as State Power, Surveillance of Mobilities, Heterotopias or Dystopia? View full abstract»

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      Trust and Confidence

      Page(s): 131 - 158
      Copyright Year: 2010

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Trust and Confidence in Institutions: Facilitating Social Capital, What This Study Is Not, Modernity, Institutions, and Confidence, Confidence in Institutions as a Component of Trust, Understanding Lack of Confidence, Components of Confidence, Information Sharing, Confidence, and Regulation, Codes of Behavior, Familiarity, Trust, and Confidence, Conclusion View full abstract»

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      Paternalism

      Page(s): 159 - 183
      Copyright Year: 2010

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Paternalism and Its Limits, The Place of Paternalism, Morally Permissible Paternalism and Its Limits, The Limits of Paternalism, September 11: The Call of the Sirens? View full abstract»

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      Conclusion

      Page(s): 185 - 196
      Copyright Year: 2010

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      This chapter contains sections titled: Insights View full abstract»

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      Appendix A: Safety of Identifiers: Factors of Education

      Page(s): 197 - 202
      Copyright Year: 2010

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      The use of biometric technology for identification has gone from Orwellian fantasy to everyday reality. This technology, which verifies or recognizes a person's identity based on physiological, anatomical, or behavioral patterns (including fingerprints, retina, handwriting, and keystrokes) has been deployed for such purposes as combating welfare fraud, screening airplane passengers, and identifying terrorists. The accompanying controversy has pitted those who praise the technology's accuracy and efficiency against advocates for privacy and civil liberties. In America Identified, Lisa Nelson investigates the complex public responses to biometric technology. She uses societal perceptions of this particular identification technology to explore the values, beliefs, and ideologies that influence public acceptance of technology. Drawing on her own extensive research with focus groups and a national survey, Nelson finds that considerations of privacy, anonymity, trust and confidence in institutions, and the legitimacy of paternalistic government interventions are extremely important to users and potential users of the technology. She examines the long history of government systems of identification and the controversies they have inspired; the effect of the information technology revolution and the events of September 11, 2001; the normative value of privacy (as opposed to its merely legal definition); the place of surveillance technologies in a civil society; trust in government and distrust in the expanded role of government; and the balance between the need for government to act to prevent harm and the possible threat to liberty in government's actions. View full abstract»

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      Appendix B: Differences of Identity

      Page(s): 203 - 209
      Copyright Year: 2010

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      The use of biometric technology for identification has gone from Orwellian fantasy to everyday reality. This technology, which verifies or recognizes a person's identity based on physiological, anatomical, or behavioral patterns (including fingerprints, retina, handwriting, and keystrokes) has been deployed for such purposes as combating welfare fraud, screening airplane passengers, and identifying terrorists. The accompanying controversy has pitted those who praise the technology's accuracy and efficiency against advocates for privacy and civil liberties. In America Identified, Lisa Nelson investigates the complex public responses to biometric technology. She uses societal perceptions of this particular identification technology to explore the values, beliefs, and ideologies that influence public acceptance of technology. Drawing on her own extensive research with focus groups and a national survey, Nelson finds that considerations of privacy, anonymity, trust and confidence in institutions, and the legitimacy of paternalistic government interventions are extremely important to users and potential users of the technology. She examines the long history of government systems of identification and the controversies they have inspired; the effect of the information technology revolution and the events of September 11, 2001; the normative value of privacy (as opposed to its merely legal definition); the place of surveillance technologies in a civil society; trust in government and distrust in the expanded role of government; and the balance between the need for government to act to prevent harm and the possible threat to liberty in government's actions. View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Notes

      Page(s): 211 - 223
      Copyright Year: 2010

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      The use of biometric technology for identification has gone from Orwellian fantasy to everyday reality. This technology, which verifies or recognizes a person's identity based on physiological, anatomical, or behavioral patterns (including fingerprints, retina, handwriting, and keystrokes) has been deployed for such purposes as combating welfare fraud, screening airplane passengers, and identifying terrorists. The accompanying controversy has pitted those who praise the technology's accuracy and efficiency against advocates for privacy and civil liberties. In America Identified, Lisa Nelson investigates the complex public responses to biometric technology. She uses societal perceptions of this particular identification technology to explore the values, beliefs, and ideologies that influence public acceptance of technology. Drawing on her own extensive research with focus groups and a national survey, Nelson finds that considerations of privacy, anonymity, trust and confidence in institutions, and the legitimacy of paternalistic government interventions are extremely important to users and potential users of the technology. She examines the long history of government systems of identification and the controversies they have inspired; the effect of the information technology revolution and the events of September 11, 2001; the normative value of privacy (as opposed to its merely legal definition); the place of surveillance technologies in a civil society; trust in government and distrust in the expanded role of government; and the balance between the need for government to act to prevent harm and the possible threat to liberty in government's actions. View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      References

      Page(s): 225 - 237
      Copyright Year: 2010

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      The use of biometric technology for identification has gone from Orwellian fantasy to everyday reality. This technology, which verifies or recognizes a person's identity based on physiological, anatomical, or behavioral patterns (including fingerprints, retina, handwriting, and keystrokes) has been deployed for such purposes as combating welfare fraud, screening airplane passengers, and identifying terrorists. The accompanying controversy has pitted those who praise the technology's accuracy and efficiency against advocates for privacy and civil liberties. In America Identified, Lisa Nelson investigates the complex public responses to biometric technology. She uses societal perceptions of this particular identification technology to explore the values, beliefs, and ideologies that influence public acceptance of technology. Drawing on her own extensive research with focus groups and a national survey, Nelson finds that considerations of privacy, anonymity, trust and confidence in institutions, and the legitimacy of paternalistic government interventions are extremely important to users and potential users of the technology. She examines the long history of government systems of identification and the controversies they have inspired; the effect of the information technology revolution and the events of September 11, 2001; the normative value of privacy (as opposed to its merely legal definition); the place of surveillance technologies in a civil society; trust in government and distrust in the expanded role of government; and the balance between the need for government to act to prevent harm and the possible threat to liberty in government's actions. View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Index

      Page(s): 239 - 258
      Copyright Year: 2010

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      The use of biometric technology for identification has gone from Orwellian fantasy to everyday reality. This technology, which verifies or recognizes a person's identity based on physiological, anatomical, or behavioral patterns (including fingerprints, retina, handwriting, and keystrokes) has been deployed for such purposes as combating welfare fraud, screening airplane passengers, and identifying terrorists. The accompanying controversy has pitted those who praise the technology's accuracy and efficiency against advocates for privacy and civil liberties. In America Identified, Lisa Nelson investigates the complex public responses to biometric technology. She uses societal perceptions of this particular identification technology to explore the values, beliefs, and ideologies that influence public acceptance of technology. Drawing on her own extensive research with focus groups and a national survey, Nelson finds that considerations of privacy, anonymity, trust and confidence in institutions, and the legitimacy of paternalistic government interventions are extremely important to users and potential users of the technology. She examines the long history of government systems of identification and the controversies they have inspired; the effect of the information technology revolution and the events of September 11, 2001; the normative value of privacy (as opposed to its merely legal definition); the place of surveillance technologies in a civil society; trust in government and distrust in the expanded role of government; and the balance between the need for government to act to prevent harm and the possible threat to liberty in government's actions. View full abstract»