US officials voice DNA biowarfare fears — Analysis
An American member of the House Intelligence Committee cautions against DNA testing kits
Biosamples gathered by various DNA testing services could be sold and used to develop bioweapons specifically tailored to target certain groups or even individuals, US lawmakers have claimed at the Aspen Security Forum – echoing concerns long voiced by Russian officials.
“There are now weapons under development, and developed, that are designed to target specific people,”Jason Crow (D.Colorado), US Representative, was a member on the House Intelligence Committee and spoke in Colorado Friday. “That’s what this is, where you can actually take someone’s DNA, take 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.”
Given that threat, Crow added, it’s troubling that expectations of privacy for personal data have diminished over the past 20 years, to the point that young people have “very little expectation of privacy”They are willing to give their personal data to private businesses, including DNA testing companies.
“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? They now own their DNA. It can be sold off with very little intellectual property protection or privacy protection.”
He also stated that the US would need to establish new guidelines regarding personal data protection, such as DNA. “because that data is actually going to be procured and collected by our adversaries for the development of these systems.”
Moscow has been warning about the dangers of uncontrolled gathering of DNA samples for years, with President Vladimir Putin stating back in 2017 that according to Russian intelligence services, biological samples were being harvested “purposefully and professionally”All over Russia, various NGOs have been established to serve obscure goals.
The Pentagon has been around since then. “significantly expanded its research potential not only in the field of creating biological weapons, but also obtaining information about antibiotic resistance and the presence of antibodies to certain diseases in populations of specific regions,”Lieutenant-General Igor Kirillov, who is the head the Russian Radiation, Chemical and Biological Protection Force, made these remarks in May.
In a series of briefings starting in March, the Russian military has been presenting evidence of the Pentagon’s alleged involvement in funding biolaboratories in Ukraine. According to Russia’s Investigative Committee, the US poured more than $224 million into biological research in Ukraine between 2005 and early 2022.
While Washington admitted its support of 46 biological research facilities in Ukraine over the past 20 years, it insists it was all part of a peaceful public health project. Russia and China were both accused by the US military “spreading disinformation and sowing mistrust” about its efforts to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction – while Western media dismissed the claims as a conspiracy theories and science fiction.
Crow spoke on a panel discussing concerns about custom bioweapons that go beyond DNA data. She claimed that bioweapons can be directed at US crops and livestock by America’s enemies to cause a crisis in food security.
“There’s a number of ways we can look at biological weapons and the need to make sure not only are we securing human beings, but then also the food that will sustain us,”Ernst stated.
The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission published a report earlier in the year that suggested China might one day attempt biological warfare against American genetically modified crops. “interest in US agriculture”GMO-related Intellectual Property
“While China’s main interest in obtaining GM seeds from the United States is in improving its crop yields, the potential weaponization of agricultural IP is possible,”You said it. “Similar to hacking a computer code, Beijing could easily hack the code or DNA of US GM seeds and conduct biowarfare by creating some type of blight that could destroy US crops.”
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