Ethics in transnational forensic DNA data exchange in the EU.
02:00pm to 04:00pm
ISPUP Auditorium


Under EU Law, Member States are compelled to engage in reciprocal automated forensic DNA profile exchange for stepping up on cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism and cross-border crime. The ethical implications of this transnational DNA data exchange are paramount. So far, the academic debate has focused on challenges to data protection and privacy safeguards, threats to the presumption of innocence, and issues of transparency, accountability and trust. In this presentation I will explore what the concept of ethics means to professionals actively involved in transnational DNA data for fighting criminality. Their narratives display a fluid ethical boundary work between science and non-science, combined with the dynamic management of controversies, both of which are seen as ways to lend legitimacy and objectivity to scientific work. Ethical boundary work involves diverse fluid forms: as a boundary between science/ethics, science/criminal justice system, and good and bad science. Controversies related to social accountability and transparency are negotiated through the lens of opening science to the public.



The Seminar is free entry. The request of a certificate and / or declaration of attendance must be ordered on the day of the event at the ISPUP Secretariat.


Helena Machado
Department of Sociology, Institute for Social Sciences, University of Minho


Helena Machado is Full Professor at the Department of Sociology, University of Minho. Her research interests are centred on the sociology of crime and the social studies of forensic genetics, with a special focus on the societal, regulatory and ethical issues associated with the uses of molecular genetics in contemporary modes of governance in the forensic and medical fields. In 2015, Helena Machado was awarded a Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council (ERC), one the most competitive and prestigious funding schemes for scientific research of excellence in the European context.