October 1’2015 – September, 30’2020 (60 months)
European Research Council
Today we are living in the “genetic age” of criminal investigation. There is a widespread cultural belief that DNA technology has the unrivalled capacity to identify authors of crimes. EU Law (Prüm Decisions, 2008) obliges all Member States to create the conditions for the reciprocal automated exchange of DNA data for the purpose of combating cross-border crime and terrorism. Forensic geneticists play a crucial role in this scenario: they develop the techno-scientific procedures that enable DNA data to be shared across countries. EXCHANGE studies the close links between a highly specialised field of expert knowledge – forensic genetics – and surveillance in the EU.
If the EU succeeds in the implementation of this transnational system for the exchange of criminal intelligence , about 10 million genetic profiles of identified individuals will be exchanged between agencies in all EU countries. This raises acute cultural, political and societal challenges. EXCHANGE aims to address these challenges by scrutinizing how forensic geneticists, within the context of the transnational exchange of DNA data in the EU, engage science with the social values attributed to social control, citizenship and democracy.
The outputs will be: 1. Provide a general picture of the implementation of the Prüm Decision in the EU; 2. Develop in-depth knowledge of forensic geneticists’ activities relating to Prüm, by resorting to interviews, ethnographic observation and analysis of criminal cases; 3. Understand national positionings in relation to Prüm by means of a comparative study involving the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal;Germany and the UK. EXCHANGE stimulates interdisciplinary dialogue between the social sciences and the forensic genetics. This research tackles questions that are relevant to the actors involved in criminal justice cooperation in the EU. The results might be applied in governance and policy-making founded on a respect for human rights, transparency and public trust.
social studies of forensic genetics, DNA evidence, transnational exchange of dna data, surveillance, suspects, social control, citizenship and human rights, democracy, Prüm Decisions