This chapter takes the reader through a historical tour of identification techniques from ancient times to the present. The histories shed light on how the purpose of citizen identification (ID) has changed as it has been impacted by complementary and supplementary innovations. The chapter provides a thorough exploration of government-to-citizen (G2C) ID systems, so as to better understand the possible uses or potential misuses of current and future mandatory ID schemes. It also presents some of the evolutionary changes that have taken place in the nature and scope of citizen ID, and their subsequent potential implications on society. Historically governments have requested the registering of their population for census collection and more recently the need to know what social benefits accrue to each household. Nowadays, however, citizen ID numbers are even used to open bank accounts and to subscribe to mobile services, among many other things. In addition, auto-ID techniques are not only pervasive but are increasingly becoming invasive.
Before the introduction of computer technology the various means of external identification were greatly limited. The most commonly used method was relying on one’s memory to identify the distinguishing features and characteristics of other humans, such as their outward appearance or the sound of their voice. However, relying solely on one’s memory had many pitfalls and thus other methods of identification were introduced. These included marks, stamps, brands, cuts or imprints engraved directly onto the skin, which were to be later collectively referred to as tattooing. Historical records date the first tattoo about 2000BC to Ancient Egypt, though there is evidence to suggest that tattooing was introduced by the Egyptians as early as 4000BC (Cohen, T. 1994, p. 25). Read More
This chapter will explore the dynamics of the auto-ID innovation process- those drivers and inhibitors that set the direction of the whole industry on a particular course. First the innovation process of individual technologies will be examined in isolation, then within the notion of a larger system of innovation defined as auto-ID. The organisational, institutional, economic, regulatory and social determinants of auto-ID innovation will be presented. The analysis will put forward a holistic and interdisciplinary view of how an innovation comes about and the complex process that takes place through stakeholder interaction and feedback within the technology system. Patterns emerging from these dynamic interactions act as a guidepost for future developments. Understanding these dynamics better can lead to predicting future possibilities more accurately because history matters in the SI framework. Read More