Biometrics, Human Body, and Medicine: A Controversial History

Biometrics, Human Body, and Medicine: A Controversial History

Emilio Mordini (Centre for Science, Society and Citizenship, Italy)
Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-780-5.ch011


Identity is important when it is weak. This apparent paradox is the core of the current debate on identity. Traditionally, verification of identity has been based upon authentication of attributed and biographical characteristics. After small scale societies and large scale, industrial societies, globalisation represents the third period of personal identification. The human body lies at the heart of all strategies for identity management. The tension between human body and personal identity is critical in the health care sector. The health care sector is second only to the financial sector in term of the number of biometric users. Many hospitals and healthcare organisations are in progress to deploy biometric security architecture. Secure identification is critical in the health care system, both to control logic access to centralized archives of digitized patients’ data, and to limit physical access to buildings and hospital wards, and to authenticate medical and social support personnel. There is also an increasing need to identify patients with a high degree of certainty. Finally, there is the risk that biometric authentication devices can significantly reveal any health information. All these issues require a careful ethical and political scrutiny.

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