Hey, soldiers and spies think twice about that home genetic ancestry test – Roll Call

Posted: December 26, 2020 at 2:56 pm

Companies such as 23andMe, AncestrybyDNA, Genebase andFull Genomes, for example, are among dozensthat provide consumer genetic testing to identify susceptibility to potential diseases as well as to establish genealogies. It's not clear which American companies, if any, have ties to Beijing or have sold data to China.

The request to study security risks posed by genetic testing companies signals a potentialnew area of concern that extends beyond the traditional espionage, cybersecurity and supply chain risks typically associated with Beijing's global reach.

Lawmakers appear to be concerned that U.S. officials working for intelligence agencies and the Pentagon, acting in their personal capacities, may be providing their genetic information to private testing companies that could end up in Chinese hands, giving Beijing highly sensitive information that it could combine with other information it already has on them to target officials for espionage or attack. The United States, for example, already has accused China of hacking the Office of Personnel Management sometime between 2013 and 2015 and taking away highly sensitive information on top U.S. officials.

The measure also would ask multiple intelligence agencies to step up vigilance on Chinese activities in the United States as well as inside the borders ofclose U.S. allies known as the Five Eyes, which include Australia, Canada, New Zealandand the United Kingdom.

Lawmakers want the CIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Defense Intelligence Agency to submit a report on efforts by foreign adversaries to build and supply telecom and cybersecurity equipment forthe closest U.S. allies. The United States has put significant pressure on allies not to buy 5G equipment from China's Huawei, which Washington sees as a national security risk to U.S. communications networks.

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Hey, soldiers and spies think twice about that home genetic ancestry test - Roll Call

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