A genetic testing company called 23andMe came under fire after Jason Crow, a member of the US House Intelligence Committee, warned consumers that the company could be used to develop new bioweapons. He explained: “You can actually target a biological weapon that kills that person, takes them out of combat, or disables them by taking their DNA and, you know, medical profile.
According to reports from the DailyMail, Crow warned Americans not to be complacent when it comes to sharing their DNA with private companies when he shared his opinion at the Aspen Security Forum on July 22. The Colorado representative warned that bioweapons would be developed that would use a target’s DNA to kill that person, saying, “You can’t have a discussion about this without talking about privacy and commercial data protection because the Privacy expectations have fallen over the past 20 years.” Indeed, surveys and data show that young people have very little regard for privacy. He said: “People quickly spit in a cup and send it to 23andMe and get incredibly interesting data about their background. And what is that? Nowadays, a private company owns their DNA. We lack the legal and regulatory framework needed to address it and it can be sold with very little intellectual property or privacy protection,” he continued.
Crow, a former Army Ranger who served in both Afghanistan and Iraq, continued, “We need to have an open and public discussion about … what’s going to protect health information, DNA information and your data, because that data will be.” actually used by our opponents to develop these systems.
According to DM’s claims, 23andMe has stated that the company does not sell customer personally identifiable information. At the request of the police, however, the company made specific statements. United States Senator Joni Ernst, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, added that opponents could use such DNA bioweapons to attack food sources on a broader scale. He explained: “Many other uncertainties exist in the world as a result of food insecurity. There are several ways we might consider biological weapons and the need to protect not only humans but also the food that will keep us alive.”
Who owns 23andMe?
According to CBS, Anne Wojcicki is the co-founder and CEO of 23andMe, one of the best-known home DNA testing companies, founded in 2006 and named for the 23 pairs of chromosomes that make up your DNA. Wojcicki, who has more than a decade of healthcare investing experience with a focus on biotechnology companies, reportedly owns 99.4 million shares of the combined company, according to Forbes.
In a recent podcast, Wojcicki, 48, who was married until 2015 to Sergey Brin, one of the richest men in the world and co-founder of Google with Larry Page, said: “Transparency and choice are the guiding principles of 23andMe. And whether it’s about self-transparency, about choosing whether to receive your genetic information, whether to participate in research, or choosing not to do any of those things.
“There is always a concern that when a consumer receives their medical records, they may inadvertently misdisclose, misuse, or receive too much information. This is viewed very paternalistically. And I just always believed that you should have a right to your information before you trust the person with it. So you can share it in your preferred way if you want,” Wojcicki interjected.