Are there biases in designs of biometric technologies?

Proceedings of The 15th International Conference on Humanities, Psychology and Social Sciences

Year: 2023



Are there biases in designs of biometric technologies?

Ecehan Aygül Gönül , Aydan Turanli, Ph.D.




Biometric technologies permit the identification of people through static raw samples. As a fast-emerging and promising technology, biometrics are steadily becoming more common, especially in security and military industries. However, the popularization of biometrics has also raised ethical concerns such as marginalization, privacy erosion, and autonomy. Ethical concerns here are related to the question of whether technological artifacts are value-neutral or value-laden. This issue has been discussed by philosophers of technology and technoethicists. Although there are some philosophers of technology like Joseph Pitt, who asserts the Value-Neutrality Thesis regarding technological artifacts, there are others like Langdon Winner, who discusses that the design of the artifacts is shaped with biases in the article “Do artifacts have politics?.” Bruno Latour also talks about “delegating” ethical values to nonhumans in the design process by giving examples of an automatic door opener and a speed bumper. In this article, we argue that in biometric technologies these ethical concerns come from discriminatory biases that consist in digital program design decisions by focusing on the literature of philosophy of technology and technoethics.

keywords: biometric technology, value-ladenness of technological artifacts, biases, design of technology