Intelligence committee members warn US of bioweapons targeting DNA of individual Americans
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A member of the House Intelligence Committee has warned Americans to stay away from DNA testing services because the information could be used to develop bioweapons targeting specific groups of Americans or even individuals.
Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., made the comments during an appearance at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado on Friday, saying many Americans are all too willing to give their DNA information to private companies.
“You can’t have a discussion about this without talking about privacy and commercial data protection, because expectations of privacy have degraded over the past 20 years,” Crow said. “Young people actually have very low expectations of privacy, that’s what the survey 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 past,” he added.
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Crow, a former Army Ranger, then argued that once a person’s DNA is collected by a private company, that company can then sell it. 23andMe has denied ever selling the private information it collects from customers.
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, also attended the forum and added that U.S. adversaries could use the same technology to target livestock and crops to cause famine.
Crow and Ernst’s warnings came the same day they sounded the alarm about the availability of cheap, military-capable drones, as well as the growing use of AI by China and Russia.
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The United States and its adversaries are looking for ways to couple drone and AI technology to create “swarms” of up to 200 drones that can rapidly traverse the battlefield.
“It’s not just the unique pieces that are bought on the internet, but now we have close adversaries who are developing swarm technology where they can use 100 or 200 different drones – very, very advanced drones that can attack our limbs of duty on the battlefield,” Ernst said.
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Crow added that US research into drone technology must also take into account moral and ethical considerations, which he acknowledges many US adversaries do not care about.