Who owns 23andMe? Jason Crow WARNS that firm could be used to create bio-weapons that target a person's DNA to KILL them
A genetic testing firm, 23andMe, is under fire after US House Intelligence Committee member Jason Crow cautioned people that the firm can be used to program new bio-weapons to target them. He said, “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.”
Sharing his views at the Aspen Security Forum on July 22, Crow warned Americans to not be careless about sharing their DNA with private companies, according to reports by DailyMail. “You can't have a discussion about this without talking about privacy and the protection of commercial data because expectations of privacy have degraded over the last 20 years,” said the representative of Colorado while giving a heads up that bio-weapons are being made that use a target's DNA to kill that person. "Young folks actually have very little expectation of privacy, that's what the polling and the data show," he expressed while adding, “People will very rapidly spit into a cup and send it to 23andMe and get really interesting data about their background. 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,” he added.
Speaking further, Crow, a former Army Ranger who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan, said, “We have to have an open and public discussion about... what the protection of healthcare information, DNA information, and your data look like because that data is actually going to be procured and collected by our adversaries for the development of these systems.”
As per Daily Mail's reports, 23andMe has repeatedly stated that it does not sell off customers' private information, but other DNA companies may have complied to legal requests and provided information to the police. US Senator Joni Ernst, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, also pointed out that the rivals can use such DNA bio-weapons to target food supplies on a larger scale. He said, "Food insecurity drives a lot of other insecurities around the globe. 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."
Who owns 23andMe?
Founded in 2006, Anne Wojcicki is the co-founder and the CEO of 23andMe, one of the most popular home DNA testing brands, named after the 23 pairs of chromosomes that make up your DNA, as per CBS reports. According to Forbes, Wojcicki, who has over a decade of experience in healthcare investing focused primarily on biotechnology companies, owns 99.4 million shares of the merged company.
Wojcicki, 48, who was married to Sergey Brin till 2015, the man who co-founded Google with Larry Page and is one of the world’s wealthiest men, in a recent podcast, said, "The guiding principle for 23andMe is transparency and choice. And whether it’s like transparency in yourself, it’s like choosing whether you want to get your genetic information, choice if you want to participate in research, choice if you don’t want to do all these things."
"There’s always these concerns like, oh, a consumer might get their medical records and then accidentally share it in the wrong way, do the wrong things with it, or it might be too much information for them. There’s a very paternalistic take on it. And I’ve just always felt like you should be entitled to your information, and then put it on the individual. If you want to share it in your ways, allow you to share it," Wojcicki added.
This article has been rectified to correct a statement by 23andMe.