Getting security off the mind: when is it ok not to be concerned about the security issues in your research?

23 Sep 2013
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

470 Stephens Hall

Event Type

Sam Weiss Evans
Associate Director for Research, CSTMS at UC Berkeley

This talk explores the classificatory, organizational, and technological displacement of security concerns by members of the synthetic biology community. A long-standing justification for not thinking about security concerns is that the area of synthetic biology being researched and developed does not meet the criteria of current trigger points, such as being a select agent. Another is to displace security concerns by arguing that other parts of the community are already adequately addressing the concern. A third is to argue that the routine ‘thinking’ about security concerns is embedded within a particular technology, such as a screening program for DNA sequences. I draw out several examples of these modes of displacement in the EU and US. My argument is not that these displacements are somehow negligent or even deleterious to security; it is the opposite. By making a statement that security is not a matter of concern, those making the statement are providing assurance that we are secure. It remains a question whether ‘we’ accept those assurances.

This event is sponsored by CSTMS.
Additional sponsorship comes from:  Science, Technology, & Engineering Policy Group

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