Biometric technologies are complex hardware and software infrastructures that link biometric data such as fingerprints, iris scans, face scans, or DNA data with personal data. A handful of foreign private actors have implemented biometric solutions in more than half of African countries. This paper investigates the politics of biometric artifacts, it looks at how biometric data furnish the basis for the emergence and institutionalization of certain political discourses and power configurations. To this aim, we link the study of biometric data artifacts to the role of private contractors and the full-scale involvement of public institutions in the establishment of border control markets. The empirical context of the research is the work practices of the actors involved in the export of biometric technologies for border security solutions in Namibia. Preliminary findings suggest that the technological and political rationalities of biometric solutions introduce a set of novel problems in the making and management of data profiles. Border control as a political issue seems to be increasingly intermeshed with a logic of economic profit and technological efficiency raising questions of data justice and political accountability.
Polito, Carolina and Alaimo, Cristina, "THE POLITICS OF BIOMETRIC TECHNOLOGIES: Borders control and the making of data citizens in Africa" (2023). ECIS 2023 Research-in-Progress Papers. 78.