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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. 



Your DNA is Everywhere. Can the Police Analyze it?by David KravetsArs TechnicaFebruary 20th, 2015A human sheds as much as 100 pounds of DNA-containing material in a lifetime and about 30,000 skin cells an hour. But who owns that DNA is the latest modern-day privacy issue before the US Supreme Court.
Thailand Bans Commercial Surrogacy for ForeignersBBCFebruary 20th, 2015Thailand has passed a law banning foreigners from paying Thai women to be surrogates, after two high-profile cases sparked debate last year.
A primer on DNA forensicsby Blair CrawfordOttawa CitizenFebruary 18th, 2015Improved technology and automation means DNA profiles can now be done in a matter of days and, in the future, the wait could be reduced to just hours. But DNA evidence is hardly infallible.
EFF to Supreme Court: The Fourth Amendment Covers DNA Collectionby Press ReleaseElectronic Frontier FoundationFebruary 18th, 2015People have a Fourth Amendment right to privacy when it comes to their genetic material, the Electronic Frontier Foundation argues in an amicus brief filed this week with the Supreme Court.
It's Illegal to Pay a Surrogate Mother in Canada. So What Would Motivate a Woman to do it? by Denise BalkissoonThe Globe and MailFebruary 12th, 2015They show a curious mix of altruism and omnipotence: These are women who give up their very bodies for complete strangers, but only after choosing a lucky few from the desperate hordes.
Poverty, Genetics and the White American Psycheby Tanya H. LeeIndian CountryFebruary 5th, 2015We have a history that exemplifies over and over again our contempt for other races and ethnicities based on the science of the day that interpreted them to be genetically inferior to whites.
Why There Is No Perfect Human In Puerto Rico or Anywhere Elseby Taras K. Oleksyk and Juan Carlos Martinez-CruzadoScientific AmericanFebruary 5th, 2015To criticize James Watson’s infamous positions on race, a computational biologist turned to human genome data for a tongue-in-cheek “thought experiment” to find the “perfect human.”
Big Precision Medicine Plan Raises Patient Privacy Concernsby Dina Fine MaronScientific AmericanFebruary 3rd, 2015Tailor-made medicine for patients around the U.S. is getting a boost from a $215-million presidential initiative, but the undertaking is fraught with concerns.
Blood Money: Is it Wrong to Pay Donors?by Judith HarveyThe GuardianJanuary 25th, 2015In some countries, people get paid for giving blood. And in the UK, one has to buy plasma. But is safety compromised when money changes hands?
Perils of Artificial Intelligenceby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJanuary 22nd, 2015The Future of Life Institute is calling for "research on how to make AI systems robust and beneficial," on the heels of several warnings about potential dire dangers.
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