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Biometrics on the Battlefield

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Biometrics on the Battlefield

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We use biometrics on a daily basis. You need only think of unlocking your phone with your fingerprint, using iris recognition to pass through airport security, or the biometrics integrated into your passport.

Considering the possibilities this technology offers, its increasing use by armed forces is unsurprising. On the modern battlefield, parties to armed conflict—particularly terrorist groups—often rely on anonymity. Biometrics can be a powerful tool to deny that anonymity.

As with other relatively new technologies, biometrics raises questions regarding how existing law can regulate its use and whether the law needs to be supplemented. The international legal regimes most relevant to the general use of biometrics include international human rights law and data protection law. The use of biometrics during armed conflict, however, would also implicate international humanitarian law (IHL).

This post seeks to explore the relationship between IHL and biometrics. It will first briefly describe the technology and its possible uses by armed forces. It will then discuss how the use of biometrics could contribute to better IHL compliance. Lastly, it will attempt to identify IHL rules that could affect whether and how this technology may be employed during armed conflict.

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Trefwoorden
OrganisatieNederlandse Defensie Academie
AfdelingFaculteit Militaire Wetenschappen
LectoraatKrijgswetenschappen
Gepubliceerd inArticles of War
Datum2020-10-21
TypeArtikel
TaalEngels

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