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Colonial legacies, biometric futures: From Galton to the Entry-Exit System


Date: 15 March 2022, 17:00 to 19:00


Event supported by the Politics Department, Goldsmiths, and organised in the frame of the MA in International Relations.


Speaker: Dr Ana Valdivia (King's College London)

Chair: Dr. Martina Tazzioli (Goldsmiths)


Abstract: Biometric data such as fingerprints or facial images are extracted from migrants and stored in largescale information management systems to implement border controls as well as asylum policies. Yet, little is known about the historical, technical, and political context of biometrics and how this technology has evolved to the present day, driven by advances in artificial intelligence, computer science and statistics. Through digital research on Francis Galton's archives, the pioneer of biometrics in the 19th century, this presentation unveils its colonial and racial legacy from a critical technological perspective. Through a genealogical method, I will analyse the theoretical foundations of biometrics and how it has evolved through the development of computational methods such as deep learning. The presentation concludes by analysing how biometrics is implemented nowadays at the EU's borders, showing how fundamental rights are jeopardised.


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