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Michelle Spektor

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Michelle Spektor is a Ph.D. candidate in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology, and Society (HASTS) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a 2020-21 CISAC/HAI Pre-doctoral Fellow at Stanford University. Michelle's research examines how biometric identification transformed from a technology of exception into states’ preferred technique for identifying their own citizens in everyday life, and how these developments shaped state-citizen relationships. She is also interested in the ways past state identification infrastructures inform the design, policy, and public receptions of biometric surveillance in the present. To that end, her dissertation traces the shared history of British and Israeli biometric identification practices from 1904 to 2017 by studying the conceptions of identity inscribed into biometric registries in the UK and Palestine/Israel during this period. It considers the historical, socio-political, and technological conditions that made it possible for both the Israeli and British governments to propose national biometric identification systems for their own citizens in the early 21st century.