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America IdentifiedBiometric Technology and Society$
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Lisa S. Nelson

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780262014779

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262014779.001.0001

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(p.159) 6 Paternalism
America Identified

Lisa S. Nelson

The MIT Press

This chapter discusses how paternalism influences the regulation and use of biometric systems of identification. It considers the societal perceptions of biometric technology in the event of paternalistic intervention. Information technology is considered one of the primary regulatory tools of a state to protect and control the society. It is expected that the government will not exercise its power and the use of biometric systems of identification at the cost of individual liberty and privacy. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, the importance of paternalistic intervention was realized to avert the potential threat of terrorism in terms of surveillance, information gathering, and identity authentication. Furthermore, the chapter mentions that the exercise of paternalistic intervention may be understood as a threat to individual liberty, and that this exercise may not compel people to accept the use of biometric technology blindly.

Keywords:   paternalism, biometric systems, information technology, terrorist attacks, surveillance

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