Bodies as = of Knowledge: The Ethics and Politics of Biometrics in Health Care

In her second public lecture at UCSC this Spring, Rebecca Hester, Assistant Professor of Social Medicine in the Institute for the Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch, examines the uses of biometrics in the health care industry. This talk takes place Tuesday, May 13, 2014, 12:00-1:30pm, in 210 Humanities 1.

April 23, 2014

By , Coordinator, Bodies Imag(in)ed to be Obstacles to Security Research Cluster 

What are the proposed uses of biometrics in health care and the ethics and politics of body data in the digital age?  As security and surveillance become the order of the day, biometric technologies have become a ubiquitous and naturalized part of most aspects of everyday life.  Operating from the premise that “bodies don’t lie,” biometrics promises increased safety, security, accuracy, and reliability in identity recognition and verification.  These promises are especially appealing in the health care industry where the verification of patient and provider identities is a necessary security feature for protecting patient data.  Despite their promises, however, the fact that biometrics facilitates the coding, analysis, and judgment of embodied information in new, more complex, and more far-reaching ways than were previously possible in health care opens up a host of ethical and political issues for patients, providers, and populations.  Long-standing virtues in medicine such as privacy, confidentiality, justice, and beneficence are challenged as numerous and often unknown institutions and individuals beyond the clinic can and will have access to this embodied information for security, surveillance, and marketing purposes.

RHester.HeadshotRebecca J. Hester is Assistant Professor of Social Medicine in the Institute for the Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, TX.  She holds a PhD in Politics with an emphasis in Latin American and Latino Studies from UC Santa Cruz.  Her research focuses on the politics of the body as they are manifested at and through the intersections of immigration, health, and security.


This free, public lecture is co-sponsored by the Chicano Latino Research Center,
Bodies Imag(in)ed to be Obstacles to Security (BIOS), the Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, College Eight, the Institute of the Arts & Sciences, the Institute for Humanities Research, the Department of Latin American and Latino Studies, the Department of Politics, and the Science and Justice Research Center

BIOS,
a new project of the Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, focuses on the surveillance, management, interrogation, discipline, and intervention of human and other bodies in the digital age.  If you are interested in joining this cluster, please contact Ronnie Lipschutz.