Identification and the Politics of Information Security
Title: Identification and the Politics of Information Security
Author: BRIGHT, Jonathan
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of Political and Social Sciences
The security of identification systems such as passports and national identity cards is a current policy priority for many governments. False identities allow criminals to cross borders, launder money, claim benefits and gain access to other people's information whilst perceived insecurity in identification systems is widely seen as holding back the development of egovernment and online commerce. All over the world, nation states are investing heavily in the security of their identification systems, trying to protect themselves against such threats, especially through the creation of “electronic” identification cards and the increased use of biometric technology. Existing literature on these new identification systems has so far focussed on the politics of security, especially security crises like 9/11, and how the legitimating power of this politics enables the creation of these systems. Many authors have argued that this politics serves expand the powers of government surveillance systems, whilst drowning out competing concerns about the impact these systems may have on human rights such as privacy and liberty, and some have even gone as far as to claim that European nations are developing into “surveillance states”. Ten years on from 9/11 it is clear that this literature is at best incomplete. Far from instituting totalising societies of surveillance and control, many of these systems have run into significant trouble following their creation. Some have suffered from years of delay, going vastly over budget in the process others, once created, have seen poor usage of supposedly central features. The implementation of new electronic services remains difficult whilst many question if our borders are really any more secure than they were a decade ago. This thesis seeks to explore what happened, and in so doing provide an insight into how the dynamics of security politics affect the construction of identification systems.
Defence date: 01 June 2012; Examining Board: Pascal Vennesson (Supervisor EUI/RSCAS) Christian Reus-Smit (EUI) Christopher Dandeker (King's College, London) Thierry Braspenning Balzacq (University of Namur).
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