Historical Background: From Manual Identification to Auto-ID

Historical Background: From Manual Identification to Auto-ID

Katina Michael (University of Wollongong, Australia) and M.G. Michael (University of Wollongong, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-795-9.ch003
OnDemand PDF Download:
$30.00
List Price: $37.50

Abstract

This chapter takes the reader through a historical tour of identification techniques from ancient times to the present. The histories shed light on how the purpose of citizen identification (ID) has changed as it has been impacted by complementary and supplementary innovations. The chapter provides a thorough exploration of government-to-citizen (G2C) ID systems, so as to better understand the possible uses or potential misuses of current and future mandatory ID schemes. It also presents some of the evolutionary changes that have taken place in the nature and scope of citizen ID, and their subsequent potential implications on society. Historically governments have requested the registering of their population for census collection and more recently the need to know what social benefits accrue to each household. Nowadays, however, citizen ID numbers are even used to open bank accounts and to subscribe to mobile services, among many other things. In addition, auto-ID techniques are not only pervasive but are increasingly becoming invasive. The chapter draws examples from history and emphasizes the types of issues that should be carefully deliberated in the introduction of any new national ID-based scheme. These schemes need forward planning and safeguards beyond those currently provided.
Chapter Preview
Top

Introduction

This chapter takes the reader through a historical tour of identification techniques from ancient times to the present. The histories shed light on how the purpose of citizen identification (ID) has changed as it has been impacted by complementary and supplementary innovations. The chapter provides a thorough exploration of government-to-citizen (G2C)government-to-citizen (G2C) ID systems, so as to better understand the possible uses or potential misuses of current and future mandatory ID schemes. It also presents some of the evolutionary changes that have taken place in the nature and scope of citizen ID, and their subsequent potential implications on society. Historically governments have requested the registering of their population for census collection and more recently the need to know what social benefits accrue to each household. Nowadays, however, citizen ID numbers are even used to open bank accounts and to subscribe to mobile services, among many other things. In addition, auto-ID techniques are not only pervasive but are increasingly becoming invasive. The chapter draws examples from history and emphasizes the types of issues that should be carefully deliberated in the introduction of any new national ID-based scheme. These schemes need forward planning and safeguards beyond those currently provided.

Defining Identification

Identification is defined in several ways, dependent on what aspect is being considered; it is “the act of identifying, the state of being identified [or] something that identifies one” (Macquarie Dictionary, 1998, p. 1062). The verb identify is linked to the noun identity, such as in the case of the term identity card which can be used to identify someone belonging to a particular group. Founded in Europe (from the Late Latin identitas) the word identity became noticeable in the English-speaking world around 1915, primarily through Freud (Pollock, 1993, pp. 1-20). The preferred definition for identity within the context of this book is the “condition, character, or distinguishing features of person or things effective as a means of identification” (Macquarie Dictionary, 1998, p. 1062).

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset