by Derrick Broze, DC Clothesline:
In the latest warning regarding DNA testing, two US Representatives have warned that DNA testing could lead to gene-specific bioweapons.
On July 22, U.S. Representative Jason Crow and Senator Joni Ernst spoke of the dangers posed by “bioweapons” targeting specific populations based on their DNA. The statements from Crow and Ernst happened at the Aspen Security Forum during a panel titled “National Security Today: Emerging Challenges and Opportunities”.
Crow, a Democrat from Colorado and member of the House Intelligence Committee, chastised younger Americans for being too eager to give up their genetic code to private companies who offer DNA testing services.
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“People will very rapidly spit into a cup and send it to 23andMe and get really interesting data about their background,” Crow stated. “And guess what? Their DNA is now owned by a private company. It can be sold off with very little intellectual property protection or privacy protection and we don’t have legal and regulatory regimes to deal with that.”
Crow went on to say that a conversation around privacy must acknowledge that “expectations of privacy have degraded over the last 20 years”, and “young folks actually have very little expectation of privacy, that’s what the polling and the data show.”
Beyond concerns of privacy and who owns your DNA, Crow also warned that the DNA data is “going to be procured and collected by our adversaries for the development” of weapons systems that target a specific DNA trait or category.
“You can actually take someone’s DNA, take, you know, their medical profile and you can target a biological weapon that will kill that person or take them off the battlefield or make them inoperable,” Crow warned at the Aspen Security Forum.
During the panel Senator Ernst, a Republican from Iowa, focused her comments on concerns that enemies of the United States might use similar technology to target animal agriculture and crops.
“If we look at food security, and what can our adversaries do with biological weapons that are directed at our animal agriculture, at our agricultural sector?” Ernst asked.
The senator went on to warn about weaponized versions of the flu.
“Highly pathogenic avian influenza, African swine fever, all of these things have circulated around the globe, but if targeted by an adversary, we know that it brings about food insecurity. Food insecurity drives a lot of other insecurities around the globe.”
The warnings regarding DNA testing are not the first to make the news. In July 2019, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson also warned against using the home testing kits. “Be careful who you send your DNA to,” Richardson said at an event hosted by the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, “There’s a number of those companies where you can go and find out what your makeup is. That’s a lot of information.”