History offers a cautionary tale for biometric covid tracking systems
Biometrics have great appeal to those concerned with public health — but they can also be used for far darker purposes
By Michelle Spektor
Michelle Spektor is a PhD candidate in history, anthropology and science, technology and society at MIT, and a 2020-2021 pre-doctoral fellow at the Institute for Human-Centered AI and the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University.
February 3, 2022 at 6:00 a.m. EST
Places around the world are using biometric technologies for coronavirus contact tracing and surveillance. For example, a municipality in South Korea is expected to roll out a program that uses facial recognition to track infected people. Other countries plan to implement, or have already implemented, similar systems, and some U.S. states are moving in that direction. Companies are developing facial recognition systems equipped with body temperature sensing capabilities, and Seychelles International Airport just implemented such a system for traveler health screening.