Baker & McKenzie Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre
at UNSW Law Faculty
invites you to a free talk


National Identification Schemes as a Response to the "Terrorist" Threat

  Speaker: Andrew Clement, University of Toronto and Information Policy Research Program  
  Date: Wednesday, 30 April 2003  
  Time: 1:00 to 2:00 pm, including 15 minutes for questions  

UNSW Law Faculty, Library stage II Tower, Room 1301 (13th floor).
Enter via Gate 11 Botany St Randwick.



The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have rekindled public debate about National Identification Schemes (NIDS) in the US, Canada, and other countries. While much of the debate has focused on the tradeoffs between security protection and the potential loss of privacy and other civil liberties, this talk examines the prior question of whether a NIDS would actually be effective in preventing terrorist attacks of the kind the world recently witnessed. It examines currently proposed NIDS and finds none that identify how they would contribute to reducing the threat of major terrorist attack.

By relying on unfocused measures of questionable effectiveness, NIDS may actually create a false sense of security that leaves us more vulnerable than before. We therefore risk impairing our vital liberties with little gained in return. In this light, the oft-cited trade-off between liberty and security may be irrelevant, or worse, a distraction that prematurely concedes and obscures a dangerous presumption.

  About the speaker:

Andrew Clement is associate professor in the Faculty of Information Studies at the University of Toronto, where he coordinates the Information Policy Research Program. He is the Director of the Collaborative Graduate Program in Knowledge Media Design. He also holds a cross-appointment (status-only) in the Department of Computer Science, from where he received his PhD in 1986. He is visiting Sydney as a guest of the Institute for Information and Communications Technology at UTS.

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