Northumbria University Centre for Forensic Science

European securitization and biometric identification: the uses of genetic profiling

P. Johnson & R. Williams. Annals of the Italian National Institute of Health, 43(1), pp. 36-43. (2007).


The recent loss of confidence in textual and verbal methods for validating the identity claims of individual subjects has resulted in growing interest in the use of biometric technologies to establish corporeal uniqueness. Once established, this foundational certainty allows changing biographies and shifting category memberships to be anchored to unchanging bodily surfaces, forms or features. One significant source for this growth has been the “securitization” agendas of nation states that attempt the greater control and monitoring of population movement across geographical borders. Among the wide variety of available biometric schemes, DNA profiling is regarded as a key method for discerning and recording embodied individuality. This paper discusses the current limitations on the use of DNA profiling in civil identification practices and speculates on future uses of the technology with regard to its interoperability with other biometric databasing systems.

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