Developing Biometrics in the EU

15-03-2010

Accepting a broad definition of biometrics to include behaviour and emotion opens the door to, and is the pre-condition, of a surveillance state of commodified citizens. Biometrics per se are not problematic: their naïve use for diverse purposes is and raises serious ethical issues about their impact on society. Naive use of biometrics compromises claimed security objectives, inadvertently imperils citizens’ rights, and does not necessarily boost either interoperability at the technical level, nor politico-security goals at member state and EU level. The paper addresses biometrics, body scanner and related issues of identity management function and mission creep. It makes suggestions for the European Parliament and national parliaments to better evaluate legislative options in order to address and safeguard citizens’ liberties, privacy and data protection, avert de-sensitisation and overcome weaknesses in current legislative responses and data practices. Wellthought out ethical use of ubiquitous ICT is imperative.

Accepting a broad definition of biometrics to include behaviour and emotion opens the door to, and is the pre-condition, of a surveillance state of commodified citizens. Biometrics per se are not problematic: their naïve use for diverse purposes is and raises serious ethical issues about their impact on society. Naive use of biometrics compromises claimed security objectives, inadvertently imperils citizens’ rights, and does not necessarily boost either interoperability at the technical level, nor politico-security goals at member state and EU level. The paper addresses biometrics, body scanner and related issues of identity management function and mission creep. It makes suggestions for the European Parliament and national parliaments to better evaluate legislative options in order to address and safeguard citizens’ liberties, privacy and data protection, avert de-sensitisation and overcome weaknesses in current legislative responses and data practices. Wellthought out ethical use of ubiquitous ICT is imperative.

Externý autor

Juliet LODGE (ICT ETHICS - f7P, Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence, University of Leeds, UK) and Max SNIJDER (for the annexed section on Dutch passports ; JMECE and Eurobiometrics Forum) ; under the coordination of the Justice and Home Affairs Section of the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)