Biohacking Code of Conduct

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We have been invited to give our views on a possible DIYBio code of conduct.

This page is used to gather reading material and start a discussion.

Reading links


  • Catherine the Hackspace ethicist has offered her help.


  • GILDA: our representatives should be scientists and/or people who already have practical experience of biohacking. We shouldn't be represented by anyone who will talk about perceived or imagined problems.
  • BUGS: as a science-type-person, I'd be very interested in going along.

Brainstorming notes

- "genetic counselling" - medical ethics - counselling important before results of medical test results
-  we can do a lot, but *should* we?
- national ethics framework for bio labs
	- should biohackers adhere to it as well?
- ethics review boards for bio labs
	- should biohackers do the same thing?
	- applies to both people and animals
	- and consideration is given to the quality of the science being done

- could we replicate ethics review boards with peer review?
	- ie before doing an experiment, ask another dig bio group's opinion.

- should it just be "abide by the law"?
	- animal cruelty laws, for example
	- "causing unnecessary suffering" (in the eyes of the law)

- experiments on people
	- eg swabs for detecting diseases
	- if we just perform experiments on ourselves
	- if the bio group does...
	- ... if we do it on the general public

- maybe drawing the line at allowing people to test themselves, versus allowing people to advertise tests on others

- disposal of materials
	- guidelines for handling and disposal of materials?
	- "don't summon something you can't dismiss"
	- ethical induction required before doing experiments?
		- code of ethics for diybio hackers?

- ieee code of ethics?
	- can we copy this, or another institution's?
	- for example that of the British Computing Society?

- playing with genetically modified organisms?
	- how is the organism genetically modified and does that matter?
		- eg forced fast selection by exposing crop strains to mutagens

- should you be allowed to give yourself cancer?
	- cf law that says there is a level of pain you can't consent to
	- by contrast, should you be obliged to prevent someone else harming themselves? Do you have a responsibility for other people's safety?
	- how much does the backspace ethic / hacker manifesto intersect or apply at all?

- safe storage and labelling of substances and equipment?
	- as per the law, or should we do more than that?

- would / could dnabio produce "the next bio-al quaeda"?
	- deliberate terrorism
	- or accidental ("safe" organism turns out to be dangerous, or dangerous organism accidentally gets out into the wild)