Biometrics-Free or Die!
Burn Your Passports: No to Biometrics
When at the end of the 19th century, Francis Galion in England began his research into fingerprints and Alphonse Bertillon invented the criminal mug shot for “anthropometric identification” (that was the term at the time) in France, such procedures were exclusively reserved for repeat criminal offenders.
Today, proposals are in the works to profile society—to apply to every citizen means that were once reserved for delinquents. According to one program already in development, the normal relationship to the State, which Rousseau termed members of the Sovereign, will be through biometrics, that is, generalized suspicion.
As citizens under pressure from the increasing depolitization of post-industrial society withdraw from all political participation, they see themselves treated more and more as virtual criminals. The corps politic has become the corps criminal.
The dangers of such a situation are evident to everyone except to those who simply refuse to open their eyes. How well we know that photos on identification and professional membership cards not only allowed the police in Nazi-occupied countries to find and register Jews but to facilitate their deportation. What is going to happen one day when a despotic power possess the biometric record of an entire population?
It is even more alarming that European nations, after having imposed biometric controls on immigrants, are now preparing to impose it on their citizenry. The security reasons invoked in favor of these odious practices are not convincing, because even if they may somehow hinder criminal recidivism, they are completely useless in preventing a first offense or an act of terrorism. On the other hand, they are completely efficient for the mass control of the population. The day when biometric controls will be generalized or when camera surveillance will be placed in every street, all criticism and dissent will be impossible.
The young students who destroyed the biometric readers in the cafeteria of Gif-sur-Yvette High School have demonstrated that they are more concerned with individual liberty and democracy than those who accepted their installation without flinching.
I express my solidarity with those French students and publicly declare that I shall refuse any and all biometric control and that I am prepared to renounce my passport and any document serving to identify me.
LE MONDE | 05.12.05 | 14h48