Description

Keith‘s current research examines the development of biometric identification and financialisation technologies on the African continent.  States are being remade under the pressures of rapid demographic growth, intractable conflicts over boundaries, domestic and international national security demands, and the offerings of multi-lateral donors and international data-processing corporations. Much of this turn to enhanced forms of state surveillance is common to societies across the globe, but the economic and institutional forms on the African continent are unusual. Automated biometric identification systems, aimed chiefly at adults, present these states with apparently simple and cost-effective alternatives to the difficult and expensive projects of civil registration. Keith‘s research examines Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa – where commercial banks are offering to bear the costs of building centralised biometric population registers. In doing so the banks have explicitly in mind the development of an unusual of a national identification database and commercial credit risk scoring apparatus, a combination that aims to transform all citizens into appropriate subjects of for automated debt appraisal.

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