You may have heard that 72-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo, aka the Golden State Killer, who raped, murdered and burgled hundreds of people the 1970s in an investigation that had long since gone cold was recently tracked down and arrested due to his DNA being linked to that of a distant relative using an open-source genealogy website called GEDmtach.
In other words, even if you have never volunteered your genetics for such services, your DNA is accessible to law enforcement if a relative has done a genetic test – even a very distant relative. Despite these companies’ guarantees of privacy, they are obliged to surrender genetic data when presented with a search warrant or a court order.
Remember, Kids – in the era of Big Data, YOU are the product!
YouTuber, reallygraceful has been making great videos for a few years and this is one of her best so far. This very well-researched and visually-sophisticated piece explores the intersection between 23andMe, the Mountain View, California privately-held personal genomics and biotechnology company that was founded in 2006 by CEO Anne Wojcicki (sister of YouTube CEO, Susan Wojcicki) with seed money from Google Ventures when Anne was still married to Google co-founder Sergey Brin.
Meanwhile, Google Ventures CEO Bill Maris is also the founder of the Google-backed biotechnology company, Calico, which is chiefly concerned with combating aging. Maris is firm in his view that Calico’s research could extend the human lifespan to five hundred years and possibly extinguish death itself.
Immortality is an obsession of many of the same Silicon Valley Tech Overlords who promote the idea that human overpopulation is the world’s leading problem and that the Earth’s resources will be exhausted without population control. This is, of course at odds with the idea of life extension and immortality. If the lifespan of everybody on Earth were extended to 500 years and beyond, the received wisdom tells us that we would eat ourselves out of our planetary house and home.
This is where transhumanism and an emerging world of high tech eugenics collide and reallygraceful does a fantastic job of exploring the legal and existential implications of reproductive rights based the “brainscores” currently being withheld from DNA test customers, the “Designer Baby” patent owned by 23andMe for use in fertility clinics and “ethno-bombs” made from genetically modified microorganisms to target genetic sequences that belong to specific ethnicities.
Back in 1998, Wired Magazine reported that one such weapon was being developed in Israel to target Arab genes and to leave the ethnically Jewish ones unharmed.
While the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 prohibits some types of genetic discrimination in obtaining health insurance and employment, she notes that last year, members of Congress moved to undo some genetic privacy protections that would enable employers to demand to see their employees’ genetic information.
On the 23andme website, the fine print currently reads: “If you are asked by an insurance company whether you have learned genetic information about health conditions and you do not disclose them…it may be considered fraud on your behalf.”
As current trends in DNA testing continue and tests taken by your relatives may reveal your own predispositions to disease, she wonders if your employer or insurer will drop you after having access to your family’s DNA reports? Will we see a rise in deaths associated with treatable conditions once insurance companies have access to these reports? Will our genetic profiles ever be used against us beyond law enforcement? The answer seems obvious.
The data-processing involved in genetic sequencing is legendary, so who would be better-equipped to crunch the data of billions of genomes than Google, who met with the White House 427 times during the Obama Administration? reallygraceful rightly asks, “How long until 23andme’s biobank is utilized by third parties like the US military to develop genetically-targeted biological weapons? Or is that already taking place?”
She warns that the potential for soft eugenics is beginning to form while designer babies will soon be within reach for average customers and that the responsibility for this is currently in the hands of legislators who receive large donations from the Corporatist lobbyists associated with these technologies.
It is our responsibility to stay on top of this matter to see that this doesn’t get out of hand, unless it’s already too late. For whatever it’s worth, Deborah Tavares of StoptheCrime.net has recently announced that the 5G wireless network currently being rolled out is in fact a sterilization and eugenics program. (To Be Continued…).