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19 Windsor Rev. Legal & Soc. Issues 45 (2005)
A Case against Biometric National Identification Systems (NIDS): Trading-off Privacy without Getting Security

handle is hein.journals/wrlsi19 and id is 49 raw text is: A CASE AGAINST BIOMETRIC NIDS

A      CASE         AGAINST           BIOMETRIC            NATIONAL
IDENTIFICATION SYSTEMS (NIDS): TRADING-OFF
PRIVACY WITHOUT GETTING SECURITY
Bijon Roy*
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, gave rise to a host ofproposed
technology-based security solutions. Implicit in these proposals was that, enhancing
our security required some trading-off' with civil liberties and privacy. This paper
challenges the soundness of this assumption, focusing on frequently-proposed
biometric national ID systems. Careful analysis reveals that these technologies are
inappropriate tools for fighting terrorist attacks, extremely costly, and may even
introduce new security vulnerabilities. Biometric national ID systems and similar
technologies fail to offer any appreciable security benefits, while the risks they pose
to rights and freedoms are well-documented.
Les attaques terroristes du 11 s~ptembre, 2001 ont engrendr  un grand nombre de
solutions propos~es de s&urit de technologie-bas . Implicite dans ces propositions
6tait que, 1 'amelioration de notre scurit6 a exig6 quelque o compromis )) avec les
libert~s et l'intimit civiles. Cet article defi la solidit de cette supposition, en
concentrant sur le systmefr quemment-propos  biom~trique national
d 'identification. Une analyse prudente rv&le que ces technologies sont des outils
inopportunes pour combattre contre les attaques terroristes, sont telement cher, et
qui peuvent mme introduire les nouvelles vuln&abilits de scurit6. Le syst me
biomtrique national d'identification et les technologies similaires n'offrent pas les
avantages de s~curitW appr&iables, pendant que les risques qu'ils posent aux droits
et les libert~s sont bien-documents.
They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety
deserve neither liberty nor safety. - Benjamin Franklin (1784)
I.     INTRODUCTION
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were a shocking call to action,
clearly demonstrating a pressing need for Western democracies to strengthen security
and re-assess foreign policy. Because the horrific nature of the attacks generated such
widespread fear and uncertainty, threatening to destabilize both the social and
economic order, the need for governments to assuage public concerns by acting
* Bijon Roy, B. Arts. Sc. (Hons.) (McMaster), M.A. (Toronto), J.D. (Toronto), is an articling student
with Raven, Allen, Cameron, Ballantyne & Yazbeck LLP/s.r.l. in Ottawa.

Vol. XIX

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