According to reports coming from American intelligence officials on Friday, Chinese companies are currently gathering genetic data from all over the world as part of an effort being made by the Chinese government and companies to develop the largest bio-database in the world.
A new paper published by the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, the United States needs to improve its security measures for critical technologies such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, semiconductors, and bioeconomy. Michael Orlando, acting director of the counterintelligence center, an arm of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, went on record saying China and other countries are attempting to dominate these technologies by acquiring American know-how through both legal and illegal means.
China is trying to capture every single piece of data on Americans – even down to their DNA. That’s not an exaggeration. @OutnumberedFNC pic.twitter.com/mPUZVMaS9q
— Morgan Ortagus (@MorganOrtagus) July 26, 2022
Since a long time ago, China and other countries have attempted to steal American technology and intellectual property in the private sector in the United States.
The New York Times broke the concerning story and had these details to add:
China believes dominating these areas will give it an economic edge, and American companies are also investing heavily. Artificial intelligence and machine learning hold the promise to revolutionize many aspects of life, including military operations. Quantum computing will allow countries to break the toughest encryption that exists today, and semiconductors are vital not just for computers but many consumer products.
But officials are now also stressing the intersection of technology and genetic and biological research as an area of competition and espionage. Edward You, who is the national counterintelligence officer for emerging and disruptive technologies, said the Chinese government was collecting medical, health and genetic data around the world. The country that builds the best database of information will have an edge on developing cures for future pandemics, and China already has an advantage, he said.
Beijing has a track record of misusing genetic data, the counterintelligence center said, citing a 2019 New York Times report on how China uses genetic tests to track members of the Uyghurs, a predominantly Muslim minority group.
Mr. You stated, with reference to a report from Reuters, that a Chinese company known as BGI had collaborated with the Chinese military to develop a neonatal genetic test. This test allowed the company to collect information from millions of people all over the world. In 2013, the company bought an American genomics company, which allowed it to establish a presence in the United States market.
Your DNA is the most valuable thing you own. It holds the most intimate details of your past, present and potential future. Learn how China’s access to US genomic & other healthcare data poses risks to Americans' privacy, economic & national security. See:https://t.co/zR5l1KuZZ8 pic.twitter.com/3GGWVyZIow
— NCSC (@NCSCgov) June 8, 2021
According to officials from the intelligence community, BGI currently has contracts and partnerships with health institutions located all across the United States. In addition to providing affordable genome sequencing, the firm also has access to genetic data. A number of the company’s subsidiaries were fined by the Department of Commerce the year before for contributing to genetic research that was used in the government of Beijing’s campaign against the Uyghur people.
As a direct consequence of this, according to Mr. You, the genetic information of certain citizens of the United States might be “transferred to the government of China.” So, to put it simply, health institution all across the United States is essentially selling the DNA of Americans for money. Trump shouldn’t be the one investigated for espionage but rather these corrupt health institutions who are selling their souls to China.