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Fri, May 09

DNA Sanitizer Will Wipe Your Identity Off Everything You Touch

A new kind of sanitizer spray kills more than just bacteria. Artist and technologist Heather Dewey-Hagborg‘s “Invisible” line aims to wipe all traces of personhood from drooled-on forks, subway poles, and all other objects that hide traces of our DNA long after we’re gone. A product that preemptively erases DNA in order to avoid people spying on your genome might sound paranoid. But Dewey-Hagborg knows just how easy it is to snoop on DNA from experience. In 2012, fascinated by a single stray hair found in a cracked painting, she began collecting cigarette butts, chewed-up gum, and hair samples from public places, analyzing the genetic sequences contained within, and creating 3-D masks generated from the forensic details. The “Stranger Visions” project, she says, drove her deep into the all-too-real debates over genetic surveillance. Now, she’s working on a dissertation on genetic privacy, and gearing up for a sale of the sprays this June. Read more.