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CLB Speaker Series: Tania Simoncelli (ACLU)

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November 7, 2007 12:30pm - 1:30pm

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On January 5, 2006, President George W. Bush signed into law the "DNA Fingerprint Act of 2005,” authorizing the collection and permanent storage of DNA from anyone arrested or non-U.S. persons detained under federal authorities. This expansion of the federal DNA databanking law is emblematic of a new era in forensic DNA -- one where scores of innocent people are having their DNA collected, profiled, and permanently stored by the government. This talk will describe a range of techniques and practices that are providing law enforcement unprecedented access into the lives of individuals by way of their DNA, discuss their implications for civil liberties, and recommend a series of guidelines for achieving a more appropriate balance between police powers and individual rights.
Tania Simoncelli is the Science Advisor in the Technology & Liberty Program of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Ms. Simoncelli advises ACLU leadership and staff on critical developments in science and technology and their implications for civil liberties, with an emphasis on genetics and neuroscience. In addition, she speaks and publishes on a broad range of science policy issues, including the expanding uses of DNA by law enforcement, human behavioral genetics research, emerging uses of functional MRI for lie detection, the ethics of human experimentation, and scientific and academic freedom. Ms. Simoncelli holds a BA in Biology & Society from Cornell University and an MS in Energy and Resources from the University of California, Berkeley. She has worked as a researcher, analyst, and consultant for a range of nonprofit environmental and social justice organizations, including the Environmental Defense Fund and the Center for Genetics and Society, and is an active Board Member of the Council for Responsible Genetics. Ms. Simoncelli is currently collaborating with Sheldon Krimsky of Tufts University on a book on forensic DNA databanks that is under contract with Columbia University Press.

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