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According to a popular aphorism, biometrics are turning the human body into a passport or a password. As usual, aphorisms say more than they intend. Taking the dictum seriously, we would be two: ourself and our body. Who are we, if we are not our body? And what is our body without us? The endless history of identification systems teaches that identification is not a trivial fact but always involves a web of economic interests, political relations, symbolic networks, narratives and meanings. Certainly there are reasons for the ethical and political concerns surrounding biometrics but these reasons are probably quite different from those usually alleged.

Keywords: biometrics; digitalization; ethics; globalization; identity; person; privacy

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Siena University (Italy)

Publication date: November 1, 2008

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