INDEPENDENT OVERSIGHT, DATA GOVERNANCE AND THE TEMPORAL CONSTRUCTION OF FORENSIC EVIDENCE: THE MAKING OF THE FIRST STATEWIDE RAPE KIT TRACKING PLATFORM
Keywords:transparency, data governance, sexual violence, regulation, race/ethnicity
AbstractPolice management of sexual assault kits (SAKs) has led to systemic disorganization resulting in lost and forgotten forensic evidence. In response, advocates champion 'sexual assault kit tracking platforms' as a pillar of survivor-centered and trauma-informed approaches to rape kit reform at the state level and to create independent oversight over forensic processes. In 2017, Idaho became the first state to implement a statewide tracking platform. The Idaho Sexual Assault Kit Tracking System (IKTS) allows the public to track kits from distribution to collection, and testing at law enforcement facilities. The emergence of tracking platforms raises questions about what governance paradigms, data relations, and discourses these systems enable. I find concerns about "timeliness" and the temporal life of forensic evidence structured the creation, deployment, and maintenance of IKTS. I argue timeliness is a data governance paradigm with multiple and shifting meanings of temporality that comprise various legal, social, and data relationships. I show how the discourse of tardy, slow, and untimely forensic evidence is a mechanism to codify consistent statewide forensic practice and centralize legal decision-making. The legislature's treatment of SAK disorganization as a problem of unmanaged "temporality" assumes a view of evidence processing as merely and neutrally unmechanized. On one hand, this treatment obscures how racialized rape myths shape police decision-making; on the other, IKTS protocols offer some intervention. I argue this should not be read as signs of a racial justice technofix, but as indications of the limits and possibilities of a "technolegal" response to violence.
How to Cite
Shelby, R. (2021). INDEPENDENT OVERSIGHT, DATA GOVERNANCE AND THE TEMPORAL CONSTRUCTION OF FORENSIC EVIDENCE: THE MAKING OF THE FIRST STATEWIDE RAPE KIT TRACKING PLATFORM. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2021. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2021i0.12044