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About Civil Society & Human Biotechnology


"Civil society" refers to institutional political actors outside of government and private enterprise, typically nonprofit advocacy organizations and foundations. The term "non-governmental organization," or NGO, is closely related.

Civil society organizations have come to play an important role in ensuring the accountability of governments, countering the power of corporations, and contributing to democratic governance.

For most of today’s important issues – war and peace, economic growth and equity, ecological sustainability, race and gender equality, and many others – there are dense networks of civil society institutions. For the issues surrounding human biotechnologies, a civil society infrastructure is just beginning to emerge. 



Human Rights Body Warns Over Mass DNA Screeningby Elaine EdwardsThe Irish TimesApril 11th, 2014A Government proposal which would allow the taking of DNA samples for “mass screening” of certain “classes” of individuals should be prohibited, Ireland's national human rights watchdog has said.
It's a Fair Cop: Police Academy Uses DNA Testing on Students by Julie PowerThe Sydney Morning HeraldApril 3rd, 2014For the first time, the New South Wales Police Force has used DNA testing to screen its newest crop of student police against its crime database.
Discriminatory “DNA Sweeps”by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 31st, 2014A DNA sweep of “all black and brown migrant workers” at farms in Canada has led to a complaint against the Ontario Provincial Police department alleging misconduct and racial profiling.
Forced Sterilization Nurse: ‘I Can See Now It Was So Wrong’by Lori Jane GlihaAlJazeera AmericaMarch 24th, 2014A nurse at the government-run 'State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded' and witnessed what may have been thousands of forced sterilizations - part of a government effort to rid society of the “defective,” and create a super race.
Mugshots Built From DNA Databy Sara ReardonNatureMarch 20th, 2014Researchers have developed a computer program that can create a crude three-dimensional model of a face from a DNA sample.
In Me We Trust: Public Health, Personalized Medicine, and the Common Goodby Donna DickensonThe Hedgehog ReviewMarch 12th, 2014We should not underestimate the strength of the commercial and biotechnological interests supporting Me Medicine. We need to reclaim biotechnology for the general good and break down the enclosures that threaten to circumscribe the genetic commons.
When Science Doesn't Have all the Answersby Louise KinrossBloomMarch 6th, 2014My son’s rare genetic deletion is on the list of disorders identified by microarray analysis of a fetus’s DNA. It makes me sad to think that the lives of children like my son are being targeted for termination. Is this a step forward?
The Dangerous “Science” of Gregory Clark, as Read in The New York Timesby Matt RubenPhiladelphia MagazineFebruary 26th, 2014The pseudo-scientific notion that genetics explains why elite families and groups remain on top has surfaced again in a recent New York Times column.
DNA Collection Aids Arrests — But What About Privacy?by Noreen MoustafaAljazeera AmericaFebruary 21st, 2014Privacy advocates warn that warrantless searches of a person’s DNA, especially for misdemeanor arrests, is a slippery slope.
Old Songs, New Tests, and Expensive Childrenby George Estreich, Biopolitical Times guest contributorFebruary 20th, 2014The CEO of AOL justified a restructuring of the company’s 401(K) plan by citing two "distressed babies." This tone-deaf insensitivity was answered by a disapproving choir, but it sadly resembles too many descriptions of the "cost" of people with disabilities.
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