Publication Details

This article was originally published as: Michael, K & Michael, MG, Historical lessons on ID technology and the consequences of an unchecked trajectory, Prometheus, 2006, 24(4), 365-377. The journal is available here from Taylor & Francis journals.


This paper traces the use of identification techniques throughout the ages and focuses on the growing importance of citizen identification by governments. The paper uses a historical approach beginning with manual techniques such as tattoos, through to more recent automatic identification (auto-ID) techniques such as smart cards and biometrics. The findings indicate that identification techniques born for one purpose have gradually found their way into alternate applications, and in some instances have been misused altogether. There is also strong evidence to suggest that governments are moving away from localized identification schemes to more global systems based on universal lifetime identifiers.



Link to publisher version (DOI)