sub-projects

EXCHANGE’s ground-breaking approach aims at: understanding cultural imaginaries about forensic genetics and its surveillance-related utopias and dystopias; mapping the intersections between genomics and the criminal justice system; analysing the interconnections between geopolitics, national identities and assumptions about criminal conducts; following the process of ‘co-production’ of science and social order through forensic genetics.


Subproject 1

Talking Science

View

The transnational exchange of DNA data in the EU involves different national positioning and contexts. Such complex picture will be approached through interviews with relevant forensic experts – namely, all the “National Contact Points” for DNA data under the Prüm system – in order to understand their expectations regarding the potential impact of DNA technologies and databasing in fighting crime and terrorism.

Close

Subproject 2

Doing Science

View

There is a widespread belief that DNA technologies have an unrivalled capacity to provide identification of crime perpetrators. This sub-project studies processes of technological and scientific innovation as key ingredients in the construction of credibility of DNA evidence. Other topics include communication patterns within the forensic science community and the role of private companies in the provision of forensic services.

Close

Subproject 3

Travelling DNA

View

The operation and effective mobilisation of transnationally exchanged DNA data are made visible through criminal investigation of cross-border criminal cases. Discourses about criminal cases circulating among the different domains of practice – the forensic science, the criminal justice and the media – are studied in this sub-project. Furthermore, we are interested in investigating how human rights, data protection and issues related to the distinctive statutory laws are addressed in different EU Member States.

Close

Subproject 4

Globalising-Localising Forensic Genetics

View

This sub-project relies on the comparison of four national cases – the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and the United Kingdom – differing with regard to their conditions and positioning in relation to the transnational exchange of DNA data. It aims to understand how the forensic laboratories are organized in different countries and how these services are positioned in relation to the social, political, and legal contexts in which they operate.

Close

Subproject 1

Talking Science

View

The transnational exchange of DNA data in the EU involves different national positioning and contexts. Such complex picture will be approached through interviews with relevant forensic experts – namely, all the “National Contact Points” for DNA data under the Prüm system – in order to understand their expectations regarding the potential impact of DNA technologies and databasing in fighting crime and terrorism.

Subproject 2

Doing Science

View

There is a widespread belief that DNA technologies have an unrivalled capacity to provide identification of crime perpetrators. This sub-project studies processes of technological and scientific innovation as key ingredients in the construction of credibility of DNA evidence. Other topics include communication patterns within the forensic science community and the role of private companies in the provision of forensic services.

Subproject 3

Travelling DNA

View

The operation and effective mobilisation of transnationally exchanged DNA data are made visible through criminal investigation of cross-border criminal cases. Discourses about criminal cases circulating among the different domains of practice – the forensic science, the criminal justice and the media – are studied in this sub-project. Furthermore, we are interested in investigating how human rights, data protection and issues related to the distinctive statutory laws are addressed in different EU Member States.

Subproject 4

Globalising-Localising Forensic Genetics

View

This sub-project relies on the comparison of four national cases – the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and the United Kingdom – differing with regard to their conditions and positioning in relation to the transnational exchange of DNA data. It aims to understand how the forensic laboratories are organized in different countries and how these services are positioned in relation to the social, political, and legal contexts in which they operate.

publications

2017

Santos, Filipe (2017), The transnational exchange of DNA data: Global standards and local practices, in Kai Jakobs; Knut Blind (eds.), Proceedings of the 22nd EURAS annual standardisation condeference. Digitalisation: Challenge and opportunity for standardisation. Aachen: Verlag Mainz, 305–322. Download

Santos, Filipe; Machado, Helena (2017), Patterns of exchange of forensic DNA data in the European Union through the Prüm system, Science & Justice, 57(4): 307-313, doi: 10.1016/j.scijus.2017.04.001

2016

Amelung, Nina; Queirós, Filipa; Machado, Helena (2016), Studying ethical controversies around genetic surveillance technologies: A comparative approach to the cases of Portugal and the UK, in Proceedings of the IX Portuguese Congress of Sociology - Portugal, Território de territórios (org.) University of Algarve, 6 to 8 July. Download

Frois, Catarina; Machado, Helena (2016), Modernization and development as a motor of polity and policing, in Ben Bradford; Beatrice Jauregui; Ian Loader; Jonny Steinberg (eds.), The SAGE handbook of global policing. London: Sage Publications, 391-405.

Ljosne, Isabelle; Mascalzoni, Deborah; Soini, Sirpa; Machado, Helena; Bentzen, Heidi; Rial-Sebbag, Emanuelle; D'Abramo, Flavio; Witt, Michal; Schamps, Geneviève; Katić, Višnja; Krajnovic, Dusica; Harris, Jennifer (2016), Feedback of individual genetic results to research participants: Is it feasible in Europe?, Biopreservation and Biobanking, 14(3): 241–248. doi: 10.1089/bio.2015.0115

Machado, Helena; Silva, Susana (2016), Voluntary participation in forensic DNA databases: Altruism, resistance, and stigma, Science, Technology & Human Values, 41(2): 322-343, doi: 10.1177/0162243915604723.

Martins, Marta; Granja, Rafaela; Machado, Helena (2016), Risk, security and crime: The "transnational" suspect, in Proceedings of the IX Portuguese Congress of Sociology - Portugal, Território de territórios (org.) University of Algarve, 6 to 8 July. Download

Matos, Sara; Santos, Filipe; Machado, Helena (2016), Crime and geopolitics of science in the European Union, in Proceedings of the IX Portuguese Congress of Sociology - Portugal, Território de territórios (org.) University of Algarve, 6 to 8 July. Download

Santos, Filipe (2016), Overview of the implementation of the Prüm Decisions, Report update, November 2016. Download

Toom, Victor; Wienroth, Matthias; M’charek, Amade; Prainsack, Barbara; Williams, Robin; Duster, Troy; Heinemann, Torsten; Kruse, Corinna; Machado, Helena; Murphy, Erin (2016), Approaching ethical, legal and social issues of emerging forensic DNA phenotyping (FDP) technologies comprehensively: Reply to ‘Forensic DNA phenotyping: Predicting human appearance from crime scene material for investigative purposes’ by Manfred Kayser, Forensic Science International: Genetics, 22: e1-e4. doi: 10.1016/j.fsigen.2016.01.010

2015

Machado, Helena; Silva, Susana (2015), Public perspectives on risks and benefits of forensic DNA databases: An approach to the influence of professional group, education, and age, Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, 35(1-2): 16-24, doi: 10.1177/0270467615616297

meetings

2017/11/07

Academic Citizenship and the Worthy Place for the Other in Research

View

2017/11/07

View

Academic Citizenship and the Worthy Place for the Other in Research

Institute for Social Studies | University of Minho | 7 November 2017

Guest Speaker: Sheila Khan (Post-doc researcher at CICS.NOVA.Uminho)

In this seminar, Sheila Khan presented the idea of “academic citizenship” which emphasizes the need of researchers being reflexive about their own familial, social and emotional situatedness and historical context. Khan strengthened her proposal by exploring the concepts of memory and post-memory. She argued for being reflexive on one’s own historical roots shaping individual and collective memories and narratives. Furthermore, she emphasized that in times of increasing nationalism and populism, researcher’s responsibilities are even greater to keep an open and unprejudiced view on “the other”.  These days racism appears in more confusing and fragmented ways. For that reason solidarity and humanity, together with critical thought, needs to be core of academic citizenship. The debate addressed issues related to tensions between getting research funding and making free choices on research topics, the distinction between the choice of topics and the attitude applied on it; and researcher’s achievements when mediating between the roles of investigators and citizens.

2017/03/21

Fragilities of Portuguese Law in the international exchange of DNA data – Implications of the Prüm Treaty and Decisions

View

2017/03/21

View

Fragilities of Portuguese Law in the international exchange of DNA data – Implications of the Prüm Treaty and Decisions

Centre for Social Studies | Coimbra, Portugal | 21 March 2017

Guest Speaker: Henrique Curado (Escola Superior de Tecnologias da Saúde do Porto)

Portugal has international commitments inherent to the Prüm Decisions. Drawing from an analysis of the law that regulates the Portuguese forensic DNA profiles database, Law 5/2008, jurist Henrique Curado explored the gaps in Portuguese law in what regards the transference of personal data inside and outside the European Union. The seminar focused particularly on the legal and ethical challenges raised by the principle of exemption of previous control to the transmission of personal data when this is necessary or legally required to the protection of an important public good, as it is the matter of international cooperation against terrorism and organized crime.

2017/02/20

Think Tank Day | Ethical implications of NGS in the criminal justice system

View

2017/02/20

View

Think Tank Day | Ethical implications of NGS in the criminal justice system

Bristol Hotel | Frankfurt am Main, Germany | 20 February 2017

Massive Parallel Sequencing technologies have developed rapidly over the past decade while the costs associated with sequencing have declined. The potential utility, need and declining costs of MPS increase the feasibility of their introduction into criminal investigations. This Think Tank Day explored, from the perspective of the social sciences and forensic sciences, the complexities surrounding the application of MPS technologies and the ethical issues which may arise with their implementation.

Some of the general questions that guided our reflection were:

– The risks and benefits of using different MPS-based technologies in specific contexts, and the risks and benefits of not using them

– The balance between individual and collective rights and interests

– Transparency and public trust

– Public understanding and debate

– Future monitoring

2016/10/11

Criminal brains: Forensic uses of neuroscience and its social implications

View

2016/10/11

View

Criminal brains: Forensic uses of neuroscience and its social implications

Centre for Social Studies | Coimbra, Portugal | 11 October 2016

Guest Speaker: Torsten Heinemann (University of Hamburg | University of California, Berkeley)

Discussant: Tiago Pires Marques (CES)

 

In recent years, neuroscientists have made fundamental progress in the study of human behaviour and mental processes. This progress has not been limited to basic research, and neuroscientific knowledge is increasingly applied in everyday life. For example, there are several attempts to use neuroscience in forensic contexts, e.g. for lie detection, or in order to predict and prevent criminal behaviour. This research is expected to help identify individuals at risk of committing violent crimes even before they actually do so. It therefore promises to revolutionise crime prevention, prosecution and intervention programmes in the near future.

 

At the same time, forensic uses of neuroscience raise serious social concerns ranging from the operationalisation of criminal behaviour or “the truth” to the (envisioned) application of the results.

 

This talk provided an overview on forensic neuroscience with a focus on the neurobiology of criminal behaviour. Torsten Heinemann argued that neuroscientific research reaffirms and reproduces categories of social inequality such as race, class, and gender that it aims to overcome. His approach to neurosciences contributes to the ongoing debate on biological citizenship by outlining so far neglected aspects of potential exclusion and stigmatisation on the basis of biological traits.

2016/07/08

The bank of genetic profiles for criminal prosecution in Brazil

View

2016/07/08

View

The bank of genetic profiles for criminal prosecution in Brazil

Centre for Social Studies | Coimbra, Portugal | 8 July 2016

Guest Speaker: Rodrigo Grazinoli Garrido (Institute for Research and Expertise in Forensic Genetics, Rio de Janeiro)

Discussant: Maria João Porto (Director of the Genetics and Forensic Biology Service, INMLCF-IP)

 

The seminar, organised in collaboration with Susana Costa (CES), focused on the process of implementation – with an overview of three years of operation – of the Brazilian Integrated Network of DNA Profiles Databases. While emphasising the crucial involvement of the FBI in the implementation of CODIS and in supporting and training Brazilian forensic geneticists, Rodrigo Garrido also discussed the legislative issues surrounding the establishment of the legal basis for the operation of DNA profiling in Brazil. In this context, the lack of rigid criteria and guidelines provided by Law 12.654/2012 has been supplemented by resolutions by the Management Board of the Database Network.

 

Echoing the implementation of the Prüm system in the European Union, Brazil’s criminal rates and socio-economic inequalities have impacted so far on the lack of convergence and harmonisation among the Federal States.

 

Furthermore, it was discussed how a number of legal and bioethical concerns surrounding the collection, storage and use of genetic data still exist, adding to some degree of public misinformation in Brazil about the potential uses of forensic DNA data.

2016/06/22

Clash of the genomes: Populations as brands in personalised medicine research

View

2016/06/22

View

Clash of the genomes: Populations as brands in personalised medicine research

Centre for Social Studies| Coimbra, Portugal | 22 June 2016

Guest Speaker: Aaro M. Tupasela (University of Copenhagen)

The seminar presentation drew attention to 1) how various actors are seeking to lay claim over genetic resources through the generation of different forms of authenticity and origin; 2) how populations are increasingly becoming forms of brands, since particular characteristics are associated with them for the purposes of classification and differentiation; 3) how different countries exercise policies of inclusion (and exclusion) in an attempt to define group identity.

 

The discussion focused on similarities and differences between biobanks and forensic DNA databases. In particular, it reflected on 1) different notions of the state as a guardian of genomic information, and the challenges of transnational data exchange in this context; 2) how national identity is configured and plays out in databanks; and 3) how the purpose of managing populations drives genomic search for diseases or the “grouping” of genetic clusters associated with propensity to violence.

2016/05/03

EXCHANGE 2016 annual conference: Current and future challenges of forensic genetics in society

View

2016/05/03

View

EXCHANGE 2016 annual conference: Current and future challenges of forensic genetics in society

Centre for Social Studies | Coimbra, Portugal | 3 May 2016

 

The first annual conference of the EXCHANGE project gathered internationally renowned speakers from the forensic and the social sciences to participate in an interdisciplinary dialogue on the uses of DNA technologies for forensic purposes.

 

The one-day event was joined by experts, students and practitioners from different areas – criminal investigation, law and justice, sociology, legal medicine – and provided a unique opportunity for all attendants to approach the many ethical, legal, technical and societal implications nourishing the current debate, with an emphasis on empirical cases.

 

Presentations covered such diverse topics related with forensic science as: race, operational and policy issues, ethical and regulatory aspects of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) and interpretation of DNA evidence. Other presentations dealt with the methodological and practical aspects of forensic technologies, laboratory work and database management, with a specific focus on the Dutch and Portuguese DNA databases.

2016/05/02

EXCHANGE Scientific Advisory Council meeting

View

2016/05/02

View

EXCHANGE Scientific Advisory Council meeting

Centre for Social Studies | Coimbra, Portugal | 2 May 2016

 

The first meeting of the EXCHANGE Scientific Advisory Committee provided a comprehensive overview of the project’s aims, challenges, research perspectives and expected impact, and engaged the Team and Committee members in a constructive debate on the possible research developments and difficulties arising from the fieldwork.

 

The variety of expertise represented in the Committee allowed a thorough exploration of the project’s potentialities and aims through an interdisciplinary discussion of the research topics and design. Interdisciplinarity itself is one of EXCHANGE’s main objectives, and a necessary approach to pursue a responsive and responsible science, which goes beyond common binary juxtapositions between collective benefits and individual risks, security and privacy. Such goal will only be accomplished if a fruitful dialogue between forensic and social sciences is established.

 

Theoretical as well as empirical and methodological questions were addressed by researchers’ presentations with reference to EXCHANGE’s main goal of rethinking social control, citizenship and democracy through the study of forensic geneticists’ attitudes and positioning within the Prüm scenario. An overview of the conducted fieldwork was also given, and possible outcome and impacts of the research were discussed, with particular reference to the geopolitics of the Prüm system and familial searching.

2016/02/15

Writing up fieldwork: Writing creatively in an academic context

View

2016/02/15

View

Writing up fieldwork: Writing creatively in an academic context

Centre for Social Studies | Coimbra, Portugal | 15-19 February 2016

Guest Speaker: Amal Chatterjee

The EXCHANGE project aims to engage with innovative modes of communicating research findings. In order to promote this, the EXCHANGE team organised a one-week course, held by Amal Chatterjee, writer, editor and lecturer of fiction at the University of Oxford. The course encouraged researchers to explore creative writing tools vis-à-vis traditional forms of academic writing. Participants were confronted with alternative possibilities to write to academic audiences through unconventional approaches that allow to ‘follow’ forensic DNA in its travelling.

2016/01/28

Semiotics and visual culture

View

2016/01/28

View

Semiotics and visual culture

Centre for Social Studies | Coimbra, Portugal | 28 January 2016

Guest Speaker: Moisés Martins (Communication and Society Research Centre, University of Minho)

EXCHANGE investigates the meanings attributed to DNA technologies and the processes through which such meanings are created and consolidated in the forensic genetics field. To further develop knowledge and skills on semiotics, a seminar was organised with invited speaker Moisés Martins, professor of Sociology of Communication and Culture and of Social Semiotics. The seminar introduced the participants to the principles of semantic systems, semiotics, technologic production and sensorial memory. A practical exercise that exemplifies the processes of construction of meaning through signs was developed.

2016/01/14

Workshop: Creative writing for academics

View

2016/01/14

View

Workshop: Creative writing for academics

Centre for Social Studies | Coimbra, Portugal | 14 January 2016

Guest Speaker: Alison Neilson (Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra)

One of the challenges related with academic research lies in the capacity to report research results in a way which is capable of communicating them across different disciplines and publics, and to provoke innovative thinking about existing assumptions. EXCHANGE wishes to explore writing processes that allow to respond to these challenges. This seminar by CES researcher Alison Neilson was organised to stimulate alternative forms of academic writing, with a focus on artistic and creative inspiration. The dangers, the conditions, the processes, and the reasons and places for this kind of writing were assessed during the workshop. The team was also invited to participate in a meditative creative exercise that fostered the exploration of emotions in academic research and the articulation of personal and professional trajectories.

2015/12/09

Sharing experiences of ethnographic fieldwork

View

2015/12/09

View

Sharing experiences of ethnographic fieldwork

Centre for Social Studies | Coimbra, Portugal | 9 December 2015

Guest Speaker: Susana Silva (Public Health Institute, University of Porto)

A central position in EXCHANGE’s methodological toolkit is occupied by ethnographic observation, which implies a series of practical and ethical challenges. In order to promote discussion of these issues, invited speaker Susana Silva shared her experience of team work in the context of ethnographic field observation at the Department of Health and Society – Social Epidemiology of the University of Porto. Among the topics discussed in the seminar were issues of team organization and working methods, qualitative methods in public health research, challenges of participant observation, issues of protocol and approaches to sensitive research topics.

2015/11/02

Basic DNA course

View

2015/11/02

View

Basic DNA course

Centre for Social Studies | Coimbra, Portugal | 2-5 November 2015

Guest Speaker: Kees van der Beek (Netherlands Forensic Institute)

EXCHANGE aims at bridging between different disciplines by creating opportunities for discussion and mutual learning. As a starting point of this fruitful dialogue, Kees van der Beek, custodian of the Dutch DNA database and member of the EXCHANGE Scientific Advisory Committee, was invited to hold a course on “Basic DNA”. The course was jointly attended by the EXCHANGE researchers and six forensic scientists from the Portuguese Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences (INMLCF). Among the covered topics related to DNA data management in forensic science, such issues as databasing, familial searching, determination of externally visible traits, dealing with false-positive matches, and frontier DNA technologies were addressed. Following the course, participants were given a guided visit to the laboratories of the Department of Forensic Genetics and Biology and to the facilities of the Portuguese DNA database.

outreach

2017/10/04

Surveillance, migration and criminalisation in the EU

View

2017/10/04

View

Surveillance, migration and criminalisation in the EU

Colloquium “Social Inequalities and Public Policies” | Institute for Social Sciences, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal | 4 October 2017

spacer

Helena Machado gave a lecture about multiple forms of criminalisation of migrant populations through transnational genetic surveillance in the context of global neoliberal security policies. Using the idea of “liquid modernity” by Zygmunt Bauman, Helena discussed the intersections between the expansion of ICT systems for large scale data processing and commercial interests driven by private companies. She focused in particular on the criminalisation of particular mobile populations by means of technological systems of human identification. Furthermore, she argued that the expansion of transnational genetic surveillance represents complex modes of convergence between science, capitalism, and moral and political classifications that become legitimized by the massive spread of moral panics concerning “strangers”.

2017/09/13

Giving a face to crime: Ethical and social challenges of DNA phenotyping // (Re)construction of territorial borders and politics of inclusion and exclusion // Tensions between the global and the local: Challenges of privacy protection in the fight against crime in the European Union

View

2017/09/13

View

Giving a face to crime: Ethical and social challenges of DNA phenotyping // (Re)construction of territorial borders and politics of inclusion and exclusion // Tensions between the global and the local: Challenges of privacy protection in the fight against crime in the European Union

17th Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology: “Challenging ‘crime’ and ‘crime control’ in contemporary Europe” | University of Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom | 13-16 September 2017

spacer

Filipa Queirós, Marta Martins, and Sara Matos participated in the 17th Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology

 

Filipa’s presentation “Giving a face to crime: Ethical and social challenges of DNA phenotyping”, co-authored with Rafaela Granja and Helena Machado, focused on the possibilities and potential threats which may arise from the results of FDP technology. The paper explored recent controversies that have emerged in Germany due to a high-profile criminal case. The case had triggered debate on the technologies’ potential of stigmatization of asylum seekers. Marta’s presentation, co-authored with Helena Machado, was entitled “(Re)construction of territorial borders and politics of inclusion and exclusion”. She explored how EU transnational policing and cooperation (re)produces geopolitical tensions, repositioning them along symbolic divisions of a moral and political nature. One example was the geographical division between “we” and “others” that was also reflected in a focus on “socially visible” minorities that become easily suspect or “risky” groups. Sara Matos presented the paper “Tensions between the global and the local: Challenges of privacy protection in the fight against crime in the European Union”, co-authored with Helena Machado and Filipe Santos. This presentation reflected on the “glocal” tensions regarding the processes of exchanging DNA data between EU countries for criminal intelligence purposes. In particular, the current challenges to citizenship deriving from the transnational circulation of personal data among different jurisdictions that have diverse regulations and standards regarding data protection.

2017/09/07

“Border and risk management in the European Union: the “transnational suspect” // Science, technology and cross-border cooperation. A “return to Europe” and common security // Biogenetic suspicion: Controversies, discrimination and stigmatization // (De)standardization of privacy: Challenges of privacy and data protection in the fight against crime in the European Union

View

2017/09/07

View

“Border and risk management in the European Union: the “transnational suspect” // Science, technology and cross-border cooperation. A “return to Europe” and common security // Biogenetic suspicion: Controversies, discrimination and stigmatization // (De)standardization of privacy: Challenges of privacy and data protection in the fight against crime in the European Union

3rd Conference “Rumos da Sociologia do Conhecimento, Ciência e Tecnologia em Portugal” | Institute of Social Sciences, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal | 7-8 September 2017

spacer

Filipa Queirós, Filipe Santos, Marta Martins, and Sara Matos participated in the 3rd Conference of Paths in the Sociology of Knowledge, Science and Technology in Portugal. Filipa talked about “Biogenetic suspicion: Controversies, discrimination and stigmatization”, focusing on of DNA technologies which involve the prediction of visible external characteristics of criminal suspects and its surrounding debates and controversies. Filipe’s paper on “Science, technology and cross-border cooperation. A ‘return to Europe’ and common security” explored how the implementation of a system for transnational exchange of DNA data for policing and judiciary cooperation impacted on the Central and Eastern Europe countries. Marta’s presentation, entitled “Border and risk management in the European Union: The “transnational suspect”, argued that different border management regimes not only enact different versions of the European Union but also create the imaginary of the so-called transnational suspects involved in policies of belonging and exclusion. Sara presented the paper “(De)standardization of privacy: Challenges of privacy and data protection in the fight against crime in the European Union”. She focused on the challenges to citizenship and human rights in the context of data exchange of between EU countries. In particular, Sara explored the co-existence of diversified practices and regulations related to the protection of personal data.

 

2017/09/07

Criminalisation across borders: Geopolitical tensions and categories of otherness and suspicion // Affected for good or evil: Conceptions of “publics” shaped by crime management technologies

View

2017/09/07

View

Criminalisation across borders: Geopolitical tensions and categories of otherness and suspicion // Affected for good or evil: Conceptions of “publics” shaped by crime management technologies

8th Tensions of Europe Conference | National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece | 7-10 September 2017

spacer

Rafaela Granja and Nina Amelung participated in the 8th Tensions of Europe Conference. Throughout this event historians, philosophers, anthropologists, and sociologists of science and technology met in order to discuss this years’ theme “Borders and Technology”.

Nina Amelung presented the paper “Affected for good or evil: Conceptions of “publics” shaped by crime management technologies”, co-authored with Helena Machado, on conceptions of publics and their affectedness by forensic DNA databases. In her presentation Nina focused on the case of the UK National DNA database (NDNAD) and the UK controversy to either “opt in” or “opt out” from the cross-border DNA-data exchange across forensic databases regulated under Prüm. The study shows how responsibilities for sensing social and ethical implications have been delegated to new specialist and oversight bodies within the criminal justice system in the UK. They contribute to specific framings and partly closure of public issue-making. With regards to the transnational DNA data exchange issues were picked up which supported mainly nationalist concerns throughout parliamentary debate and media discourse.

Rafaela Granja presented a paper, co-authored with Helena Machado, Marta Martins and Sara Matos, with the title “Criminalisation across borders: Geopolitical tensions and categories of otherness and suspicion”. Based on interviews conducted with forensic experts that are professionally accompanying the development and application of the Prüm, the authors explored why is Prüm considered valuable, how does it work, what data is considered relevant, who is targeted by it and where does data point. Based on such approach they argued that the Prüm system performs not only different versions of Europe, but also diverse modes of criminalising individuals and social groups. Together, these processes enact closeness and aperture of borders, or their permanent dialectical interplay.

2017/08/31

Affected for good or evil: Conceptions of “publics” shaped by crime management technologies

View

2017/08/31

View

Affected for good or evil: Conceptions of “publics” shaped by crime management technologies

13th Conference of the European Sociology Association, (Un)Making Europe: Capitalism, Solidarities, Subjectivities | PANTEION University of Social and Political Science and HAROKOPIO University, Athens, Greece | 31 August 2017

spacer

Nina Amelung, in co-authorship with Helena Machado, presented the paper “Affected for good or evil: Conceptions of ‘publics’ shaped by crime management technologies” in the panel “Science and the Public”. The authors explored how conceptions of publics, their affectedness, and the framing of ethical issues related to forensic DNA databases co-evolve. The evolution of the British National DNA database (NDNAD) serves as a case study. The study demonstrates how the articulation of human rights issues as well as aspects related to the transparency and accountability of institutions in the criminal justice system give rise to the organisation of specific issue-publics: one more rooted in civil society organisations, the other manifested in ethical and scientific oversight bodies.

2017/09/02

Familial searching and controversies in ‘hybrid forum’ // Twilight zones – Scientific and tacit practices at the crime scene

View

2017/09/02

View

Familial searching and controversies in ‘hybrid forum’ // Twilight zones – Scientific and tacit practices at the crime scene

Annual Meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S): STS (In)Sensibilities | Sheraton Hotel, Boston: MA, United States of America | August 30 – September 2 2017

spacer

Rafaela Granja and Susana Costa participated in the Annual Meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S). The participation in this event was an occasion to explore the multiple discourses and variable practices of knowledge-making that characterize technoscience and, more particularly, forensic science.

 

Rafaela Granja presented a paper, co-authored with Helena Machado, with the title “Familial searching and controversies in ‘hybrid forum’”. The authors explored how controversies around familial searching have been differently managed in United Kingdom and Poland in the fields of criminal investigation and civil identification. The reflection outlines how this genetic technology displays multiple notions of the socially legitimate uses of genetic technologies in differentiated contexts.

 

Susana Costa presented a paper entitled “Twilight zones – Scientific and tacit practices at the crime scene”. The paper explored how narratives of the Portuguese police, constructed on the basis of what they see and what remains unseen, travel between epistemic cultures. She argued that in the Portuguese criminal investigation the production of a narrative with legal meaning at the courts can be conditioned by the coexistence of epistemic subcultures of the police work (different police forces attending and intervening at the crime scene), shaped by different knowledges, practices and different ways of making sense out of the same objects. The interpretative resources used by the police, depending on their degree of technological enthusiasm, can  contribute to the loss of the credibility of the forensic evidence that is produced.

2017/07/05

Crime and control – Criminal investigation, youth education centres and prisons

View

2017/07/05

View

Crime and control – Criminal investigation, youth education centres and prisons

CES Summer School: “Crime and control – Criminal investigation, youth education centres and prisons | Centre for Social Studies, Coimbra, Portugal | 5 – 9 July 2017

spacer

Rafaela Granja, Filipe Santos and Susana Costa organised, under the scientific coordination of Helena Machado, a CES summer school dedicated to understanding some of the dynamics of the criminal justice system. The programme combined theoretical reflections with an emphasis on practical engagements of the participants. The organisers were joined by Vera Duarte, Sílvia Gomes and Paula Sobral, who also contributed with a diversity of theoretical perspectives and empirical insights. The programme included diverse lectures on topics like criminal investigation and crime scene work with DNA technologies in court in Portugal, the transnational cooperation in fighting crime in Europe, and experiences in the execution of juvenile tutelary measures and prison sentences. The practical sessions of the programme contained a workshop on the construction of criminal narratives based on crime scene reports and a mock trial drawn from a fictional criminal case. In addition to these activities the summer school included a visit to the Coimbra Penitentiary Establishment and a guided visit to the photography exhibit “Radical exclusions. A feminine prison world” organised by  Claudia Carvalho.

This three-day summer school provided the opportunity to engage experts, students and practitioners from different areas – sociology, criminology, law, biology, and medicine – in a fruitful debate about how different mechanisms of social control challenge configurations of citizenship.

2017/07/05

Surveillance society in a fragmented Europe

View

2017/07/05

View

Surveillance society in a fragmented Europe

Meeting: Science 2017 | Lisbon Congress Centre, Lisbon, Portugal | 3-5 July 2017

spacer

Helena Machado was one of the scientists invited to the largest forum of debate about the main themes and challenges of the scientific agenda in Portugal. This is an annual event where researchers, sectors of civil society, and actors of society in general meet. It is organised by the Foundation for Science and Technology in collaboration with Ciência Viva, the National Agency for Scientific and Technological Culture, and the Parliamentary Commission for Education and Science.

Helena discussed the way in which a surveillance society is conjugated with a society “without frontiers”. She focused in particular on the cultural and political implications of transnational processes of fighting cross-border crime. Such practices bring about the convergence of geopolitics with imaginaries of suspect populations, resulting in ecologies of criminalisation. Thereby the projection of ambivalences grounded on symbolical dualities – “us” and “them” – re-creates multiple modes of exclusion, inequality and stigmatization in a fragmented Europe.

2017/06/28

The transnational exchange of DNA data: Global standards and local practices

View

2017/06/28

View

The transnational exchange of DNA data: Global standards and local practices

22nd EURAS Annual Standardisation Conference – Digitalisation: Challenge and opportunity for standardisation | Deutsches Institut für Normung, Berlin, Germany | 28-30 June 2017

spacer

The creation of systems for the transnational exchange of information raises multiple issues related to the establishment of common infrastructures, protocols and regulations. This paper focused on the Prüm system for the transnational exchange of DNA data. This case serves as an example of the challenges deriving from making the interoperability of national DNA databases work, while preserving national autonomy and governance frameworks. The adoption of minimal standards allows flexibility and autonomy at a local level, thus allowing interoperability to exist in spite of national differentiation. However, a relatively wide margin of discretion in terms of the routine local operations of the system can create frictions and lead to isolated solutions that can be seen as sub-optimal.

2017/06/22

Performativity of data flows in criminal DNA databases and categories of suspicion

View

2017/06/22

View

Performativity of data flows in criminal DNA databases and categories of suspicion

Data power conference | Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada | 22-23 June 2017

spacer

Systems for large scale data exchanges are playing a pivotal role in the governance, surveillance and social control of criminality in different parts of the world. In this paper the authors explored the empirical case of the automated exchange of DNA-data among several European countries for the purpose of criminal intelligence. They studied how circulation of data performs categories of suspicion. The hopes and concerns that accompany the travel of DNA-data among different countries is a particular way of data use and of generating data-based suspect subjectivities. The choices of which data should be prioritised and looked into operate along specific notions of suspect populations. These judgements should be contextualised in a wider account of changing dynamics of technology, geopolitics, and criminalisation. Notions of cross-border crime and suspects, individuals and social groups, of national ownership of data, and other forms of political subjectivity are expressed through sociotechnical systems of government.

2017/06/07

Forensic DNA Phenotyping: Controversies, translations and boundaries // From the lab to the media: DNA technologies on the move // Medical and criminal fields: Genetic data as a boundary object // (In)visibilities of criminal investigation in Portugal // Assembling transnational cooperation. Tensions between global standards and local implementation

View

2017/06/07

View

Forensic DNA Phenotyping: Controversies, translations and boundaries // From the lab to the media: DNA technologies on the move // Medical and criminal fields: Genetic data as a boundary object // (In)visibilities of criminal investigation in Portugal // Assembling transnational cooperation. Tensions between global standards and local implementation

Joint meeting Red EsCTS and Portuguese STS Network: “Lost in Translation? People, technologies, practices and concepts across boundaries” | Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal | 7-9 June 2017

spacer

Susana Costa, Marta Martins, Sara Matos, Filipa Queirós and Filipe Santos participated in the first joint meeting organised by the Spanish and Portuguese STS networks (Red EsCTS and APS-CCT) which was dedicated to the overarching theme of flows across boundaries.

Filipa, Marta, Sara and Susana participated in the sessions of “Living matters across boundaries”. Filipa talked about “Forensic DNA Phenotyping: Controversies, translations and boundaries”. She addressed the controversies over Forensic DNA Phenotyping (FDP) by analysing several production sites of practices and knowledge, both public and private. Marta’s presentation, entitled “From the lab to the media: DNA technologies on the move”, explored the emergence of the notion of “transnational suspects” from the media coverage of transnational criminal cases and interviews with forensic experts. Sara presented the paper “Medical and criminal fields: Genetic data as a boundary object”. She focused on the (re)making and blurring of boundaries that occur when police institutions resort to medical genetic databases for the purpose of criminal investigation. By understanding genetic data as a boundary object that can acquire different meanings across social worlds Sara reflected on the ethical and social challenges raised by the data’s fluidity and plasticity. In her presentation “(In)visibilities of criminal investigation in Portugal” Susana argued that the production of a narrative with legal value can be conditioned on the coexistence of different epistemic subcultures of the police work. Based on an attempted homicide case she showed the different knowledges, practices and ways of “seeing” and “non-seeing” the forensic evidence.

Filipe’s paper was presented within the session “Collaborations across boundaries”. The title of the presentation was “Assembling transnational cooperation. Tensions between global standards and local implementation”. The purpose was to engage the notion of boundary objects to consider how the Prüm system constitutes a plausible site for the study of techno-scientific structure across national borders which develops into differentiated and hierarchised local contexts. By focusing on the scale and scope of the Prüm network Filipe explored how the situated coordination of the actors involved creates conditions for the stabilisation of an infrastructure, while negotiating and adapting ill-structured aspects of the system.

2017/05/24

"We are victims of our own success": Challenges of communicating DNA evidence to "enthusiastic" publics

View

2017/05/24

View

"We are victims of our own success": Challenges of communicating DNA evidence to "enthusiastic" publics

Workshop “STS approaches to Science Communication” | Department of Science and Technology Studies, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria| 24-26 May 2017

spacer

Nina Amelung participated as invited speaker and discussant in a workshop at the University of Vienna organised by Ulrike Felt and Sarah Davies. During the workshop scholars working on various issues related to science communication explored the particularities of STS approaches to analyse the materiality, performativity and spaces of science communication.

Besides commenting other papers, Nina presented the paper co-authored with Rafaela Granja and Helena Machado “We are victims of our own success: Challenges of communicating DNA evidence to ‘enthusiastic’ publics”. The article explores how forensic geneticists adapt to the challenge of communicating the risks and limitations of DNA evidence at court to publics who believe in the superior relevance of DNA.

2017/06/01

Phenotypical inference: Ethical and social challenges//Biometrics and privacy: Bioethical challenges in police and judicial cooperation in the European Union

View

2017/06/01

View

Phenotypical inference: Ethical and social challenges//Biometrics and privacy: Bioethical challenges in police and judicial cooperation in the European Union

Conference “Bioethics: Perspectives in debate” | Nursing School of Porto, Porto, Portugal | 1-2 June 2017

spacer

The researchers Sara Matos and Filipa Queirós participated in the Conference organised by the Episteme & Logos Association at the Nursing School of the University of Porto. Sara Matos talked about bioethical challenges in police and judicial cooperation in the European Union with regard to biometrics and privacy. She explored the the balance between privacy, collective security and the vulnerability of citizens whose DNA profiles are stored in criminal DNA databases. Filipa Queirós explored the bioethical implications of forensic DNA phenotyping (FDP). She focused particularly on the consequences for citizenship arising from the intersections of technology, genetics, and the processes of criminalisation of certain individuals and populations. She presented the main ideas that have been under debate in Europe and the US, and some high-profile criminal cases in which FDP technology emerged as a promising investigative tool.

2017/05/24

DNA evidence in criminal investigation: The potentials and limits

View

2017/05/24

View

DNA evidence in criminal investigation: The potentials and limits

Seminar | School of Criminology, Faculty of Law, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal | 24 May 2017

spacer

What is the role of DNA evidence in criminal investigations that involve the exchange of data between different countries? How can social scientists address the expansive – and transnational – social life of DNA? Building on insights from the literature on surveillance, Helena Machado talked about a new regime of criminal signification emerging from the automatisation of the exchange of forensic DNA data between EU Member States. In this networked system, DNA evidence contributes to the production of new mechanisms of criminalisation. Two of these mechanisms are: first, the construction of assertions about crime and nationality; second, ideologies of criminalisation are translated into the seemingly neutral space of digital forms. These two mechanisms of criminalisation create a nexus between evidence, science, and new sites of negotiation over norms and the terms of social inclusion and exclusion.

2017/05/12

Biosocial meanings of familial searching: Relational bodies, biofamily and suspects by association

View

2017/05/12

View

Biosocial meanings of familial searching: Relational bodies, biofamily and suspects by association

Workshop “Doing the individual and the collective in forensic genetics: Governance, race and restitution” | Department of Anthropology, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands | 11-12 May 2017

 

spacer

Helena Machado and Rafaela Granja participated as invited speakers and commentators in a workshop at the University of Amsterdam organised by Amade M’charek and Peter Wade.

 

Social scientists working on diverse topics related to uses of forensic genetics debated empirical cases from Europe, Latin America, and the USA. Participants explored two main dimensions of the relation between the individual and the collective: 1) the ways whereby different technologies, laws and governance practices mediate between the two; 2) how certain collective categorisations of families and racialised groups are deployed.

 

Besides commenting other papers, Rafaela and Helena presented the paper “Biosocial meanings of familial searching: Relational bodies, biofamily and suspects by association”. This piece approaches how familial searching articulates the individual and the collective by constructing new sets of suspects in ways that move from individual identification towards the clustering of ‘suspect’ populations on the basis of their biological make-up.

2017/04/07

Problems of communication between forensic scientists and the criminal justice system // The Portuguese DNA database: Issues of operationalization

View

2017/04/07

View

Problems of communication between forensic scientists and the criminal justice system // The Portuguese DNA database: Issues of operationalization

Workshop “DNA evidence and procedural rights of the accused” | University of Minho, Braga, Portugal | 7 April 2017

spacer

Helena Machado and Susana Costa participated in a meeting joined by law experts, social scientists, and law students. The paper presented by Helena was titled “Problems of communication between forensic scientists and the criminal justice system”. It focused on the main obstacles felt in the domain of reporting DNA results in court settings and the potential misinterpretation of DNA evidence. Susana’s talk was about “The Portuguese DNA database: Issues of operationalization”. On the basis of interviews conducted with police forces she pointed out the dissatisfaction regarding the “cautious” regulation that makes the use of the DNA database ineffective.

2017/03/30

Criminal identification, technological innovation and construction of suspicion

View

2017/03/30

View

Criminal identification, technological innovation and construction of suspicion

Federal University of Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil | 30 March 2017

spacer

Helena Machado gave a lecture to an audience of police officers and students of the postgraduate program in Sociology, at the Federal University of Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil. In her talk she explored three main topics: First, some current trends of criminal investigation in a data-centric society. Second, the unrealistic expectations circulated by the media in regard to the capability of DNA for criminal identification, and its potential harms in the criminal justice system. Third, how recent technological innovations in the field of forensic DNA phenotyping are generating a debate in Europe around the interrelations between crime, race, and social inequalities.

2017/03/19

QUALIFICA | Transnational exchange of genetic information in the EU: Ethical and social challenges

View

2017/03/19

View

QUALIFICA | Transnational exchange of genetic information in the EU: Ethical and social challenges

QUALIFICA | EXPONOR, Porto, Portugal | 19 March 2017

spacer

The Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), in collaboration with POCH (Operational Programme Human Capital), invited the EXCHANGE project to make a presentation at QUALIFICA, an annual career fair that takes place at EXPONOR, Porto.

 

This year’s priority was to invite top researchers who have received a European Research Council (ERC) grant. The target audience was mainly composed by secondary school students. EXCHANGE was represented by four team members who were available to provide information about the main objectives of the project. During the event, the EXCHANGE team members engaged in discussions with visitors about the challenges associated with forensic DNA data exchange among EU Member States.

2017/02/10

Communication between forensic experts and the criminal justice system

View

2017/02/10

View

Communication between forensic experts and the criminal justice system

Master Course in Forensic Genetics | Faculty of Sciences, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal | 10 February 2017

spacer

Forensic experts deal with constant challenges when communicating the results of their analyses to the courts. Criminal justice systems are often pervaded by exaggerated expectations towards forensic evidence. At the same time, forensic genetics is presently engaged in responding to its responsibility to be accountable and accessible to citizens, and to publicly debate its limitations and consequences.

 

Helena Machado focused on the case of communicating DNA evidence in criminal cases, and highlighted the need for more training, education and meaningful interdisciplinarity. The seminar was followed by a debate involving a mixed audience of scientists of the life sciences, police officers, laboratory technicians, criminologists, social scientists, and students from diverse academic disciplines.

2017/01/27

Transnational CSI? Modes of construction of cross-border criminality // Harmonisation and divergences in police and judiciary cooperation in the EU

View

2017/01/27

View

Transnational CSI? Modes of construction of cross-border criminality // Harmonisation and divergences in police and judiciary cooperation in the EU

II Meeting of the section “Sociology of Law and Justice” of the Portuguese Sociology Association | University of Minho, Braga, Portugal | 27-28 January 2017

spacer

The researchers Marta Martins and Sara Matos participated in the event co-organised by the Interdisciplinary Centre of Social Sciences (CICS.NOVA-UMinho) and by the Law and Psychology Schools of the University of Minho. In the session “Emerging issues, recent developments and challenges” Marta talked about the theme “transnational CSI”, which analysed media representations of cross-border crime. Her paper, co-authored with Rafaela Granja and Helena Machado, discussed the moral and geopolitical meanings underlying the category of “transnational suspects” in the context of the exchange of genetic information in the European Union (EU). Sara’s presentation, co-authored with Filipe Santos and Helena Machado, explored the harmonisation processes and the existing divergences in police and judicial cooperation in the EU. She focused on the tensions between standardisation of practices and differentiations and asymmetries between countries. Differences are not neutral, and can be framed in a perspective that considers the possible impacts of the circulation of personal data on citizenship rights.

2016/11/18

Video interview | What is ”Familial searching”?

View

2016/11/18

View

Video interview | What is ”Familial searching”?

EUROFORGEN dissemination activities | Forensic genetics explained | Santiago de Compostela, Spain | 18 November 2016

spacer

Rafaela Granja, University of Coimbra

2016/11/14

Transnational ‘Truth machine’? Challenges of forensic DNA databases

View

2016/11/14

View

Transnational ‘Truth machine’? Challenges of forensic DNA databases

EGENIS Seminar Series Transnational ‘Truth machine’? Challenges of forensic DNA databases | University of Exeter, UK | 14 November | 2016

spacer

Helena Machado participated in the “Egenis, the Centre for the Study of Life Sciences” Seminar series with the talk “Transnational ‘Truth machine’? Challenges of forensic DNA databases“.

 

In the “genetic age” of criminal investigation, the expansion of large computerised forensic DNA databases and the massive exchange of DNA data at a transnational level have been portrayed as being significantly important resources for fighting crime. The ethical implications of DNA data exchange between different jurisdictions are paramount.  On the basis of interviews conducted with forensic practitioners who are national contact points for the so-called Prum regime, this seminar explored the following questions: What do they consider as ethically important in the context of the transnational exchange of DNA data in the EU for the purpose of combating cross-border crime, terrorism and illegal migration? How are ethical controversies addressed and managed? Which new forms of interaction are being constructed and assembled in relation to ethics?

2016/10/27

Webinar | Transnational criminal suspects in the European Union: Challenges to citizenship

View

2016/10/27

View

Webinar | Transnational criminal suspects in the European Union: Challenges to citizenship

Webinar | Workgroup of Young Researchers in Communication Sciences | 27 October 2016

spacer

Helena Machado participated as invited speaker in the webinar organised by the “Workgroup of Young Researchers in Communication Sciences” with a talk that discussed the articulation how the transnational exchange of DNA data in the EU combines technological surveillance with a “globalised CSI effect”. This presentation has also reflected on emerging categories of suspicion that appear entangled with geopolitics. In this process, we witness a growing criminalisation of East European individuals and groups. Dominant conceptions of risk and public safety accentuate the vulnerability of the social groups most affected by economic and political inequalities.

2016/09/24

'All in the family': Biogenetic perspectives on family and crime // Fighting cross-border crime and terrorism in the EU: Criminological challenges of transnational exchange of DNA data

View

2016/09/24

View

'All in the family': Biogenetic perspectives on family and crime // Fighting cross-border crime and terrorism in the EU: Criminological challenges of transnational exchange of DNA data

EuroCrim 2016 – 16th Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology: Crime and Control. Structures, Developments and Actors. | Münster, Germany | 21 – 24 September 2016

spacer

Rafaela Granja and Filipe Santos participated in the 16th Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology. The motto of the conference was “Crime and Control. Structures, Developments and Actors”. The participation in this event allowed the examination, from a criminological standpoint, of the several actors involved in the (re)production of social control.

 

In a paper co-authored with Helena Machado, Catarina Samorinha, and Susana Silva, Rafaela Granja participated in the session “Biological, Biosocial and Psychological Perspectives”. The paper explored the current configurations of the understandings about criminality, family and biological inheritance, and discussed the ethical and societal challenges associated with the re-emergent trend of “biology of culpability”. The reflection was based on two cases: emerging theories within the bio-psychological field about criminal behaviour and the criminal investigative technique of familial searching.

 

Filipe Santos and Helena Machado were co-authors of the paper “Fighting cross-border crime and terrorism in the EU: Criminological challenges of transnational exchange of DNA data”, presented in the session “Fighting Transnational Crime I”. This presentation provided an overview of the 5 years of available data regarding the implementation and operation of the Prüm DNA exchange system, highlighting the main trends in terms of total volume of matches and the differentiated progress of Prüm implementation, as well as the criminological challenges raised by the asymmetrical patterns of criminal mobility in the EU.

2016/09/10

'It is out of our hands'. Performing ethics in transnational exchange of forensic DNA data

View

2016/09/10

View

'It is out of our hands'. Performing ethics in transnational exchange of forensic DNA data

Doing the individual and the collective in forensic genetics: Governance, race and restitution | Chancellors Conference Centre, Manchester, UK | 8-10 September 2016

spacer

Helena Machado participated as invited speaker in the workshop entitled “Doing the individual and the collective in forensic genetics: Governance, race and restitution”, 8-10 September, Chancellors Conference Centre, Manchester. Experts in social studies of forensics debated empirical cases of different countries in Europe, Latin America, and the USA. Two main clusters of the application of forensic genetic methods and techniques were explored: 1) Governance, policing, control, regulation, surveillance, and discrimination; 2) Restitution, reconciliation, care, and the search for justice, citizen and human rights.

 

Helena presented the paper “’It is out of our hands’. Performing ethics in transnational exchange of forensic DNA data”. This work challenged the conventional approach to bioethics by proposing to approach ethics as boundary work and part of a standardised package of forensic epistemic cultures that constructs the symbolic credence in the field’s humanistic benefit for society.

2016/09/03

Travels and troubles of forensic genetic surveillance in the EU // Biosocial futures of the family in forensic DNA databases // Materializing the (criminal) body: Science and culture in forensic genetics

View

2016/09/03

View

Travels and troubles of forensic genetic surveillance in the EU // Biosocial futures of the family in forensic DNA databases // Materializing the (criminal) body: Science and culture in forensic genetics

4S/EASST Conference 2016: Science and Technology by Other Means – Exploring collectives, spaces and futures | CCIB, Barcelona, Spain | 31 August – 3 September 2016

 

spacer

Rafaela Granja, Helena Machado and Filipe Santos participated in the joint 4S and EASST 2016 conference. The motto of the conference was “Science & technology by other means: Exploring collectives, spaces and futures”. The participation in this event was an occasion to explore, following an STS approach, the articulation of collectives and social order embedded in the production of knowledge and technologies in the forensic genetics.

 

Together with Amade M’charek (University of Amsterdam), Helena organised the track “Technologies of criminalization: On the convergence of forensic and surveillance technologies”. The overarching theme of this track focused on instances and modes of convergence between technologies and tactics aimed at solving crime (forensics), and technologies of control and oversight of populations (surveillance).

 

Within this track, Helena discussed the ethical challenges of “false positives” in the transnational exchange of forensic DNA data in the EU. She addressed ethics in forensic genetic surveillance as boundary work involving collectives of scientific and non-scientific actors who negotiate the meaning, relevance and reliability of a DNA match.

 

Rafaela’s presentation explored the biosocial meanings and implications of familial searching in forensic DNA databases. In particular she discussed the kind of bodies constructed by this investigative technique, the family meanings emerging in the process, and the connections constructed between individuals with genetic shared traits.

 

Filipe participated in the track “Body, Science and Expertise” with a presentation that focused the entanglements of the body, technoscience, culture, and forensic expertise, emerging from the use of mixed DNA samples to materialise (criminal) bodies.

2016/07/14

Geopolitics and ethical challenges of DNA data exchange in the EU

View

2016/07/14

View

Geopolitics and ethical challenges of DNA data exchange in the EU

ESRC Research ‘Seminar series on genetics, technology, security and justice. Crossing, contesting and comparing boundaries’ | Newcastle upon Tyne, UK | 14 July 2016

spacer

Helena Machado participated as invited speaker in the ESRC ‘Seminar series on genetics, technology, security and justice. Crossing, contesting and comparing boundaries’ in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. She spoke to an interdisciplinary audience of social and forensic scientists about the entanglements of ethics and geopolitics in the context of DNA data exchange in the EU. Helena contended that ethics is much more than formal regimes of data protection. Some particular challenges emerge from the enormous disparities existing in national legislation and data protection, regimes of responsibility and custody of the databases, and lack of oversight of these transnational flows of law enforcement information. In addition, considerable cross-country variations exist in the general level of public trust, and in mechanisms of transparency and accountability. The presentation also proposed an approach to ethics as socially embedded in processes that activate the sociality of science and legitimate the scientific work. In this approach, ethics can be addressed as an ontological uncertainty to be explored though the notions of controversy, virtuality and potentiality.

2016/07/06

Risk, security and criminality: The 'transnational' suspect // Criminality and geopolitics of science and technology in the EU

View

2016/07/06

View

Risk, security and criminality: The 'transnational' suspect // Criminality and geopolitics of science and technology in the EU

IX Congress of the Portuguese Sociological Association | University of Algarve – Faro, Portugal | 6-8 July 2016

spacer

Researchers Marta Martins and Sara Matos participated in the biggest event of the sociological community in Portugal, organised every four years by the Portuguese Sociological Association. DNA technologies might reproduce “old” forms of discrimination by mostly affecting social groups that are already exposed to social and political inequalities. Within the session “Security of the population, public policy and citizenship”, Marta talked about risk, safety and crime, by analysing the processes and meanings underlying the construction of the concept of ‘transnational suspect’. Her paper also discussed how DNA technologies might reproduce “old” forms of discrimination by affecting social groups that are already exposed to social and political inequalities. Sara joined the session “Technologies and safety” with a communication about criminality and geopolitics of science and technology in the European Union. The focus of the paper was on how “global and common” concerns within the EU have stretched cross-border flows that reflect different ways of incorporating science and technology in national practices and structures – in this case, the DNA databases for criminal investigation purposes.

 

The conference was also an opportunity for the team to present in a collective poster the ultimate goals and expected outcomes of the EXCHANGE project.

2016/06/23

Video interview | 180 seconds for the future of forensic genetics

View

2016/06/23

View

Video interview | 180 seconds for the future of forensic genetics

EUROFORGEN International Dissemination Conference: “Forensic DNA analysis in the light of the new security needs” | Venice, Italy | 23 June 2016

spacer

Helena Machado, University of Coimbra

2016/06/23

Ethical and social challenges of transnational exchange of DNA data in the EU

View

2016/06/23

View

Ethical and social challenges of transnational exchange of DNA data in the EU

EUROFORGEN International Dissemination Conference: “Forensic DNA analysis in the light of the new security needs” | Venice, Italy | 23 June 2016

spacer

The social and ethical implications of the transnational exchange of forensic DNA data for the purposes of combating criminality are paramount. Some particular challenges emerge from the enormous disparities existing in national legislation and data protection, regimes of responsibility and custody of the database, and lack of oversight of these transnational flows of law enforcement information.

 

As invited speaker in the Dissemination Conference of the European Forensic Genetics Network of Excellence, Helena Machado explored some features of “ethical awareness” displayed by forensic practitioners acting as National Contact Points (NCPs) for DNA data exchange in the Prüm system. Prüm NCPs frame ethics through imageries of “the public” that are entangled with (in)formal regimes of normativity that separate science from the social and the political realm. Uncertainty is closed down by forensic professionals’ actual or assumed position in relation to the endeavour of reinforcing responsible governance of information, trust, transparency and public accountability.

2016/06/20

Separating the wheat from the chaff? Publics affected from European crime and border control technologies

View

2016/06/20

View

Separating the wheat from the chaff? Publics affected from European crime and border control technologies

SSTNET Workshop: “The sociological gaze on science and society relations” | Lisbon, Portugal | 20 June 2016

spacer

Nina Amelung participated in the workshop “The sociological gaze on science and society relations” organised by the Research Network 24 – Sociology of Science and Technology Network (SSTNET) of the European Sociological Association (ESA) and the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon, Portugal. Nina’s presentation aimed at examining the crafting of publics and forms of public participation in transnational biometric border and crime control technologies. She talked to an audience interested in approaches to the public understanding of or engagement with science and technology and addressed the question: How do biometric border and control technologies shape notions of European publics and public participation? For the purpose of illustration, she used two examples of transnational cooperation regimes for fighting crime and control of “illegal migration”, which both use biometric data such as DNA profiles and fingerprints: Prüm in the area of criminal investigation and EURODAC in the area of asylum management. Finally, she discussed specific dynamics and politics of silencing and (un)doing publics and public participation in biometric border and crime control technologies.

2015/12/17

Genomics, neurosciences and data sharing. Sociological and ethical challenges

View

2015/12/17

View

Genomics, neurosciences and data sharing. Sociological and ethical challenges

XIII Annual Meeting of the Centre for Neuroscience and Cell Biology | Coimbra, Portugal | 17 December 2015

spacer

As invited speaker in a special session of the CNC Annual Meeting, Principal Investigator Helena Machado introduced prospective developments and concerns related with the use of genomics, neurosciences and big data technologies in the field of Law and Justice. The presentation explored the disciplinary and ethical boundaries traced by forensic uses of medical biobanks, forensic DNA phenotyping, and neuroscience in the criminal justice system. Furthermore, it analysed the social and political consequences of mandatory data sharing and open access at the EU level.

Crime, genetics and criminal investigation

View

View

Crime, genetics and criminal investigation

CES goes to school

spacer

Aiming at opening the debate on the social studies of forensic genetics beyond the ‘specialist’ public, EXCHANGE researchers joined the initiative “CES goes to school”. Supported by the Centre for Social Studies, this initiative promotes the diffusion of knowledge in the areas of Social and Human Sciences by sharing the research developed at CES and promoting debates. The “crime, genetics and criminal investigation” presentations organised by the EXCHANGE team were held in various secondary schools of Northern and central Portugal and aimed to engage students with the issues associated to the social studies of forensic genetics. Researchers invited students to approach and debate the construction of forensic narratives, the uses of forensic DNA technologies, the social implications of DNA databases, and the challenges associated with DNA data exchange among EU Member States.