Title

Complexity and Counterterrorism: Thinking about Biometrics

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Winter 2005

Publication Title

Studies in Conflict and Terrorism

Department

Politics and Government

Abstract

Biometrics, which relies on physical characteristics to identify individuals, enjoys growing support as a counterterrorist tool. However, there is little evidence in this regard. On the contrary, one danger is that biometric systems, such as national identification cards, would create a new target for terrorists to strike, paralyzing critical infrastructure. Given these limitations, why are countries moving toward this questionable form of security? Advocates of biometrics have been able to make powerful claims that play to public perceptions of risk in general, and the threat of terrorism in particular. This article suggests decentralized methods of identification and verification.

Volume

28

Issue

6

pp.

547-566

ISSN

1057-610X