A House Intelligence Committee Democrat has warned Americans not to use DNA testing services because their data could be collected to create bioweapons targeting individuals or groups.
“You can’t discuss this without talking about privacy and business data protection because expectations of privacy have eroded over the past 20 years,” Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.) said during of a roundtable in Colorado. . “Young people actually have very low expectations of privacy, the polls and the data show.”
“People will very quickly spit in a cup and send it to 23andMe and get some really interesting data about their background,” he added, referring to a popular DNA and ancestry testing service.
But governments can “actually take someone’s DNA…you know, their medical profile and you can target a bioweapon that will kill that person or take them out of the battlefield or render them inoperable,” he added. Crow, saying companies such as 23andMe can sell a person’s DNA.
“And guess what? Their DNA is now privately owned. It can be sold with very little intellectual property protection or privacy protection and we have no legal and regulatory regimes to deal with that” , he said alongside Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), who is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, at the Aspen Security Forum on Friday.
Officials must have a “public discussion” about protecting DNA information, health care information and related data, as such data may “be obtained and collected by our adversaries for the development of these systems,” added the Congressman, referring to biological weapons. .
The company has previously denied selling any private information, including DNA, of its customers. The Epoch Times has contacted 23andMe for comment.
China and Russia collect American DNA
About a year ago, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) issued a warning that Chinese and Russian labs were processing Americans’ DNA tests through Medicare and Medicaid.
“It is ridiculous that our current policies allow the Chinese Communist Party to access Americans’ genomic data,” he said in a statement in July 2021. “There is absolutely no reason for Beijing, which regularly seeks to undermine the national security of the United States, or hand over the genomic data of American citizens.
Last year, some federal intelligence officials said in a report that they believe COVID-19 likely emerged from a high-security lab in Wuhan, China, in late 2019. Meanwhile, the National Institutes of Health brought to the attention of Congress the funds it provided to a third party to allegedly conduct controversial gain-of-function research on bat coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
During the roundtable, Ernst said US adversaries could also open a new battlefront against the United States by targeting large-scale food supplies via biological weapons.
“If we look at food security and what can our adversaries do with biological weapons that are directed against our animal agriculture, against our agricultural sector…highly pathogenic avian influenza, African swine fever,” she said. “All of these things have been circulating around the world, but if targeted by an adversary, we know it leads to food insecurity. Food insecurity leads to many other insecurities around the world.