UK should be concerned at Chinese gene data harvesting, lawmaker says

The harvesting of genetic data from millions of women by a Chinese company through prenatal tests is concerning and Britain should debate how privacy can be protected from “surveillance autocracy”, a senior British lawmaker told Reuters.

A Reuters review of scientific papers and company statements found that BGI Group developed the tests in collaboration with the Chinese military and is using them to collect genetic data for sweeping research on the traits of populations.

“I’m always concerned when data leaves the United Kingdom, that it should be treated with the respect and privacy that we would expect here at home, and the concern that this raises is that it may not be so,” Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the British parliament’s Foreign Affairs Select Committee, told Reuters.

“The connections between Chinese genomics firms and the Chinese military do not align with what we would normally expect in the United Kingdom or indeed many other countries.”


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