Rogue DNA Databases


This is what they mean by bio-politics, and bio-power. Involving the collection of information, abstracting biological informaiton, the phenomena are  both large scale and deeply intimate.

We can now add  these to the lexicon:

–DNA database

–unregulated, rogue DNA database

Apparently, local police agencies collect DNA not just from convicted felons but from suspects, and not just from suspects, but from “ordinary citizens,” including crime victims.

Is that how information pools and cascades?

Does anyone understand it?

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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2 Responses to Rogue DNA Databases

  1. nitzan4747 says:

    This is what David Lyon called “the surveillance society.” During my work on the Biometric legislation in Israel I was surprised to see that the secret services had little interest in such databases, because they were running their own archival projects with no need to share and trade biological information. The police, on the other hand, saw it as a primary goal. It’s part of a growing phenomenon and should be understood in the same way the new command centers in NY (and now in the making for Boston) centralized surveillance from different parts of town. Crossing personal information of different kinds (from plate number to DNA or fingerprints) would allow a mega-surveillance machine to keep track of individuals 24-7. In fact, much of it won’t need court authorization because it will be/is passive surveillance that can be “activated” retroactively at will. Unfortunately, large majority of the population hasn’t caught up with this technological development, nor the constitutional/political implications. This is exactly the scenario Foucault and Deleuze warned us about two-three decades ago.

    • zjb says:

      thanks, Nitzan. what i think is new here is precisely that combination between passive versus active surveillance. i’ve seen it applied by Adi Ophir, I think, in reference to passive verus active force and violence in the Occupied Territories. i hadn’t quite seen it named here in reference to the surveillance programs.

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