Events Calendar

Biometric Emotions: Affect for the purposes of security

Friday, October 20, 2017
1:00 pm
Social Science Centre (SSC)
Room: 5220

The EGG (Electro-Governance Group) presents 

"Biometric Emotions: Affect for the Purposes of Security"

October 20, 2017, 1 pm
SSC 5220

Shoshana Magnet

The current security climate continues to privilege the body as one of the most reliable forms of identification. Biometric technologies – and the ability to simplify the body into binary code – remain a central feature of contemporary safety measures. From backscatter X-rays to biometric technologies, institutionalized forms of scrutiny rely heavily on codifying human bodies as part of new safety regimes. Race and racialization are central to any contemporary understanding of surveillance. Although facial recognition receives a disproportionate amount of attention, biometric identification is not limited to the face.

The biometric identification of the body has expanded to include behaviour, launching the new field of behavioural biometrics. Behavioural biometric technologies understand each person’s behavioural patterns as unique and measurable human deeds. Industry proponents claim that these technologies work in race-&-gender-neutral ways, but in fact these technologies code existing systems of discrimination, which is revealed if we look more closely at a current example: the digital codification of the US SPOT programme, aimed at identifying suspicious behaviour in airport lines.

Shoshana Magnet is Associate Professor at the Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies, and the Department of Criminology at the University of Ottawa.

Electro-Governance Group
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