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NCJ Number: 212234 Find in a Library
Title: Complexity and Counterterrorism: Thinking About Biometrics
Journal: Studies in Conflict & Terrorism  Volume:28  Issue:6  Dated:November-December 2005  Pages:547-566
Author(s): Patrick H. O'Neil
Date Published: November 2005
Page Count: 20
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: With evidence suggesting the limited value and possible lack of safety in the use of biometrics as a counterterrorism tactic, this article presents the use of decentralized methods of identification and verification.
Abstract: Highly developed societies rest on a structure of complexity which entails a myriad of organizations and technologies that are essential to the functioning state, society, and economy. These complex systems can be made to fail. This implies that the more developed a society, the richer the targets, the wider the array of instruments to weaponize, and the more severe the potential damage. With this information, States are reconsidering their counterterrorist tactics. A complex counterterrorist technology tool that has become highly recognized and popular is known as biometrics, whereby individuals are recognized through some set of individual traits, such as eyes, voice, or fingerprints. However, this article argues that complex counterterrorist responses like biometrics are not only ineffective, but create the opportunity for future terrorist attacks. This complex tactic has the potential to construct new possibilities to weaponize the complex systems of modern societies. The article first considers the relationship between terrorism and complex systems. Secondly, it will consider biometrics as a response to these threats in both theory and practice. Third, it will ask why biometrics has become such a prominent counterterrorist response, and lastly, it considers alternatives to biometric control, such as decentralized methods of identification and verification. 70 Notes
Main Term(s): Counter-terrorism tactics
Index Term(s): Counter-terrorism intelligence; Crime prevention measures; Crime prevention planning; Crime specific countermeasures; Human factors engineering; Personnel identification systems; Police response to terrorism; Science and Technology; Terrorism/Mass Violence; Voice identification
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