Risk Technologies and the Securitization of Post-9/11 Citizenship: The Case of National ID Cards in Canada.

  • Kevin Walby Carleton University
  • Sean P Hier University of Victoria


The attacks of 11 September 2001 on Washington and New York continue to influence how governments manage im/migration, citizenship, and national security. One of the more contentious national security responses to the events of 9/11 in Canada has been the drive to introduce a biometric national identification card. In this paper, we argue that the drive for a Canadian national ID card is bound up in ideological processes which threaten to exacerbate, rather than to alleviate, state insecurities pertaining to risk, citizenship, and border (in) security. We maintain that ‘proof of status’ surveillance technologies, such as biometrically-encoded ID cards, lead to the ‘securitization’ of citizenship, and we conclude that ID cards threaten to destabilize the modern spatializations of sovereignty that they are purported to uphold under the guise of national security.