This one was spotted by my friend Dr. Scott De Hart, and by Mr. H.B., each of whom sent different versions of the story, and as always, I'm going to read a bit between the lines and do some high octane speculation. The essence of the story is that the US goobernment is seeking to build a database of DNA from 1,000,000 volunteers:
Let's look at the first article. According to this, the volunteers are being sought for a new study to improve medicine, to make it more precise:
On Sunday, the U.S. government will open nationwide enrollment for an ambitious experiment: If they can build a large enough database comparing the genetics, lifestyles and environments of people from all walks of life, researchers hope to learn why some escape illness and others don't, and better customize ways to prevent and treat disease.
"A national adventure that is going to transform medical care," is how Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, describes his agency's All of Us Research Program.
"One-size-fits-all is far from an optimal strategy," Collins said Tuesday in announcing enrollment for All of Us.
The project involves "precision medicine," using traits that make us unique to forecast and treat disease. Learning enough to individualize care requires studying a massive number of participants: The healthy and not-so-healthy, young and old, rural and urban, blue-collar and white-collar — and people of all races and ethnicities.
We get basically the same fluffy explanation from the second article:
The National Institutes of Health on Tuesday announced the launch of its attempt to enroll 1 million people in a landmark research effort aimed at developing “personalized” methods of prevention, treatment and care for a wide variety of diseases.
The second article however, reassures us that there is nothing to fear about losing the privacy of one's DNA-medical records:
But NIH Director Francis Collins and the project’s director, Eric Dishman, said volunteers’ personal data will be carefully shielded. They noted that Congress expanded protections for federally funded research in the two-year-old 21st Century Cures Act, with an eye on this type of project.
They said the information is off limits to subpoenas and search warrants via “certificates of confidentiality” given to each subject. The rules protect researchers from being forced to release identifying information in judicial proceedings.
“This is something we thought about,” Collins said. “We knew this was going to be an issue in getting people comfortable.”
This from a government that spies on everyone, runs "FISA" star chamber courts, and basically doesn't give a damn about the Constitution or the Bill of Rights any more. Oh, sure, they'll tell us about all the wonderful hedges and safeguards they've built in to prevent leaks, and to protect privacy. That will work for a few years, then they will manufacture a reason to change the rules. We all know the game.
However, there are other reasons the goobernment would want to keep those records strictly off limits, and it lies in what was said in the first article: we're told - as we always seem to be when one of these technologies or programs is unveiled - that this will be a long term health benefit as physicians begin to learn how to practice "precision medicine," i.e., a therapeutic regime designed and tailor-fitted to an individual's DNA, life style and so on. That's probably true and I'm not doubting the explanation at all. Embroider this with jonquils and daisies, and the US goobernment can claim to continue its flower-strewn parade through history, being a beacon, a shining city on a hill, the exceptional nation spreading love, peace, joy, and healing to all.
As you might have guessed, I'm not buying the fluff, not for a moment. I suspect, rather, that eventually this will be used to insist that an individual's DNA is not properly the property of that individual, but of the government. That's a long (well, maybe not) way off, however, so I want to draw attention to the flip side of "precision medicine". Imagine a biowarfare capability that is able to target, not specific populations, or genetic markers, e.g., a bioweapon designed to kill, let's say, people with a certain color of eyes, or what have you. Imagine, rather, a biowarfare capability that is able to target ever narrower subsets of a population, based on combinations of genetic traits, lifestyle habits, and so on. Eventually, if the DNA data net is cast far and wide enough, one might envision bioweapons able to target specific clans, families, even individuals. (In fact, if you've been watching the television series Blacklist, starring James Spader and Meegan Boone, the concluding episodes of season 2 deal precisely with the use of such a technology to infect an individual and to conduct covert assassinations.)
"Precision medicine" I suspect will be the new "meme" that smiling faces from the lamestream corporate controlled media will be pushing and talking about over the next few months and years. And again, the health benefits are there; they are real, and they have great potential.
But "precision medicine" is but one covert laboratory away from "precision bioweapons."
See you on the flip side...
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