DNA Surveillance

With the rapidly spreading application of artificial intelligence and DNA analysis, facial DNA prediction is but one of many technoscientific “advances” created in the post-genomic era. This type of “DNA phenotyping” – reconstructing physical features from genetic data – is heavily dependent on genetic variants linked to sex and ancestry to make its predictions. Researchers, such as Caitlin Curtis and James Hereward (2018) at the Genetic Literacy Project, have questioned the impact of such technology on genetic privacy. In particular, what might genetic surveillance technologies like facial DNA prediction/reconstruction mean to populations that have already been historically surveilled and oppressed, such as women, religious minorities, and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color? What, if anything, can be done to counter the abusive applications of biometrics and genetic technologies? Can the practices that are happening using these technologies connected to other historical forms of ecological and biological extraction and exploitation?