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"Biometrics" is not the answer to terrorism

By Tom Standage   November 2001

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” the science-fiction writer Arthur C Clarke once observed. Many technologies do seem supernatural the first time you see them. Microwave ovens heat up food using invisible rays; music can be encapsulated on shining disks; computers can simulate vivid, three-dimensional worlds. The technology industry is driven by our desire to be amazed by gadgets. So it is hardly surprising that wild claims are made about new technologies. The idea that a gadget can make your troubles vanish is seductive.

This column (a new regular in Prospect) sets out to examine such claims, not…

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