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Identity as convention: biometric passports and the promise of security

Identity as convention: biometric passports and the promise of security Purpose – The paper is a conceptual investigation of the metaphysics of personal identity and the ethics of biometric passports. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach – Philosophical argument, discussing both the metaphysical and the social ethics/computer ethics literature on personal identity and biometry. Findings – The author argues for three central claims in this paper: passport are not simply representations of personal identity, they help constitute personal identity. Personal identity is not a metaphysical fact, but a set of practices, among them identity management practices (e.g. population registries) employed by governments. The use of biometry as part of these identity management practices is not an ethical problem as such, nor is it something fundamentally new and different compared to older ways of establishing personal identity. It is worrisome, however, since in the current political climate, it is systematically used to deny persons access to specific territories, rights, and benefits. Originality/value – The paper ties together strands of philosophical inquiry that do not usually converse with one another, namely the metaphysics of personal identity, and the topic of identity in social philosophy and computer ethics. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Information Communication and Ethics in Society Emerald Publishing

Identity as convention: biometric passports and the promise of security

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References (36)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2014 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1477-996X
DOI
10.1108/JICES-08-2013-0029
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The paper is a conceptual investigation of the metaphysics of personal identity and the ethics of biometric passports. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach – Philosophical argument, discussing both the metaphysical and the social ethics/computer ethics literature on personal identity and biometry. Findings – The author argues for three central claims in this paper: passport are not simply representations of personal identity, they help constitute personal identity. Personal identity is not a metaphysical fact, but a set of practices, among them identity management practices (e.g. population registries) employed by governments. The use of biometry as part of these identity management practices is not an ethical problem as such, nor is it something fundamentally new and different compared to older ways of establishing personal identity. It is worrisome, however, since in the current political climate, it is systematically used to deny persons access to specific territories, rights, and benefits. Originality/value – The paper ties together strands of philosophical inquiry that do not usually converse with one another, namely the metaphysics of personal identity, and the topic of identity in social philosophy and computer ethics.

Journal

Journal of Information Communication and Ethics in SocietyEmerald Publishing

Published: Mar 4, 2014

Keywords: Biometric passports; Conventionalism; Ethics of migration; Identity practices; Personal identity

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