Professors Warn Creeps May Start Stealing DNA From Celebs For Dark Purposes

Videos by Rare

Videos by Rare

In case you don’t have enough to be paranoid about, we got another morsel for you to chew on. Law professors from Georgia State University and the University of Maryland are sounding the alarms over a bizarre but terrifyingly possible form of theft. DNA theft. Specifically, these professors are warning that DNA thieves, coined “Genetic Paparazzi,” may start swooping up tidbits of items containing genetic material and doing what they want with them.

In an essay published on The Conversation, law professors are warning that society is ill-equipped to handle such abuses. They have a very valid point, as technology is shifting at a much faster rate than most antiquated legal systems.

It was futurist Gerd Leonhard who once famously said, “The power of technology has already surpassed the scope of our ethics.” This unsavory truth can be applied to a broad range of realities, and now, apparently, we have to worry about DNA.

Imagine, one single strand of a Hollywood starlet’s golden hair floats to the ground and next thing you know, creepy DNA thief slyly picks it up. And next thing you know that DNA thief has used the DNA in that strand of hair to sequence a complete human genome. A baby is made in a lab, and that baby is essentially a total clone of the person that hair belonged to.

This is what law professors are saying could definitely happen. In fact, they cite Madonna’sDNA paranoia” as an example of a savvy, future-looking woman out to protect herself for very real reasons. She’s notoriously hired cleaning crews to sweep her dressing rooms to prevent fans from stealing her DNA. But this is after she lost a bid to retrieve “highly personal” items containing her DNA from an auction. Items included a pair of her panties and a brush with her hair still in it. Creepy!

The law professors making this stark warning about Genetic Paparazzi are pointing out that the Supreme Court has a history of refusing to pass legislation that isn’t already related to our Constitution. This creates a hazardous scenario because privacy rights are an issue that are coming up more and more as technology keeps evolving.

Further, public figures often face greater hurdles in protecting their privacy, although names and likenesses can be protected with additional intellectual property protections (such as trademarks).

“While courts have for the most part managed to evade dealing with the complexities of surreptitious DNA collection and testing of public figures, they won’t be able to avoid dealing with it for much longer,” the professors point out. “And when they do, they are going to run squarely into the limitations of existing legal frameworks when it comes to genetics.”

The professors continue to explain that the legal issue of DNA theft will likely fall into the hands of state legislators. But they say that “none of the states have adequately grappled with the complexities of genetic legal claims. Even in states with laws specifically designed to protect genetic privacy, regulations cover only a narrow range of genetic interests. Some laws, for example, may prohibit disclosure of genetic information, but not collection.

“For better or for worse, how the courts rule in genetic paparazzi cases will shape how society thinks about genetic privacy and about individual rights regarding genetics more broadly.”

DNA thieves. Genetic Paparazzi. What a nightmare. I think I see the future, and it has a lot of hairnets.

What do you think?

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