Do you mind if we store your DNA data and share it with everybody?
August 5, 2013
Helen Wallace, writing at Public Service Europe—“UK Building DNA database in the NHS ‘by stealth’”:
“In April, the Caldicott Committee, including British government chief scientist Sir Mark Walport proposed new rules for data-sharing electronic medical records. What they failed to make transparent is that genetic information including whole genomes will be integrated into medical records in the future – as part of a plan proposed by the Wellcome Trust, of which Walport used to be director.
“The plan, which is backed by United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron, involves sequencing the DNA of everyone in England and adding this information as an attachment to each person’s medical file. The data will then be shared with commercial companies including private healthcare companies, the pharmaceutical industry and web-based companies such as Google; without people’s knowledge or consent…Following statistical analysis of stored data, risk predictions made using computer algorithms will be fed back to individuals telling them the diseases they are expected to develop in the future.
“It raises serious concerns about government surveillance because it amounts to building a DNA database in the National Health Service by stealth. As well as commercial companies, the police, security services and government departments will be able to track every individual and their relatives. The data will be stored by the new Health and Social Care Information Centre and sold to private companies and government-run institutes worldwide – from the United States to China. Other personal records stored by the government, for example, from social care and education will be linked to people’s electronic medical records and also shared in [the] future. There is also a danger that risk predictions will lead to stigma and discrimination from insurers and employers.”
What’s that? The overwhelming majority of DNA data doesn’t prove useful in predicting, treating, or curing disease? Who cares?
Not a problem.
That’s because a) the more basic purpose of the project is surveillance and b) the medical cartel is an expert when it comes to faking cures.
“Mr. Jones, from your DNA records, we see you’re going to develop skin cancer in 10 years. We have medication for you. It’ll greatly improve your chances of staying healthy (as long as you never leave your house and keep the shades down).”
It isn’t enough to (mis)treat current illness. The medical boys and their pharmaceutical partners are eager to explore the market of not-yet disease.
Social scientists, software designers, welfare workers, patient advocates, and various other bogus experts will take on the challenge of handling people whose future illnesses are predicted.
For example, “what can we sell these frightened people?” will rank high on the list of priorities.
“Ms. Smith, if you decide to go ahead and marry your boy friend, knowing he will develop crippling arthritis at age 40, you’ll need extensive psychological counseling and training…we recommend a full four-year program leading to a degree in Victim Partnership.”
As for surveillance and tracking, it’s paradise for government snooping agencies and corporate contractors.
Let’s say a thief breaks into a high-end jewelery store after hours and steals diamonds. Immediately, all samples of retrievable DNA found in the store are analyzed. The thief wore gloves, a mask, and was covered in six layers of clothing, from head to toe? Doesn’t matter. DNA recovery is SOP.
A hundred different samples are collected in the store. They’re run through a standard program and matched to the national DNA database. The names of potential suspects are flagged in files. Police interviews are conducted. The suspects are put on a watch list and their DNA signatures are moved to a priority category—which means more intense future tracking…
It’s a party for the Surveillance State.
You apply for a job. In your interview, the human resources clerk tells you: “Sir, I see by your DNA file you were present at two crime scenes in the past three years. The bombing of a cruise ship and the theft of candy from a drug store. Any comment?”
“I didn’t commit a crime! I was just there!”
“Well, those felonies remain unsolved. And I’m wondering whether you have a tendency to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. We call this condition Associative Propensity. The latest studies indicate 12 percent of population is afflicted. It’s a negative classification that’s predictive for workplace errors…”
In all this grinding machinery, the notion that your DNA somehow belongs to you and is private has gone the way of the dinosaur.
If you think finding a map of your own DNA by way of a public search engine allows you to file suit, you’re sadly mistaken. It’s no more significant than finding your picnic photo posted on a Facebook page.
News headlines will undergo a revolution: “Movie star will become an alcoholic in ten years, doctors say.”
“Shocker: Secretary of Defense claims eating GMO corn changed his DNA profile, allowed him to avoid clinical depression.”
If you think my extrapolations are too far-out, consider the fact that a recent analysis of hundreds of thousands of samples from diagnosed flu patients revealed that 84% showed no sign of any flu virus. Not only didn’t these people have the flu, the idea that a flu vaccine could have prevented their illness is, a priori, completely absurd. But this doesn’t stop the government from hyping the vaccine.
We’re already in la-la land. And very few people care.
Pic: © Roger Wright
The author of two explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED and EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world.