|image credit: Digital DNA from Applied DNA Sciences|
If you needed one more example of how DNA will soon cease to exist as a private piece of information, you need look no further than the latest product launch by Applied DNA Sciences.
On May 10, the company announced that it is releasing a new QR (Quick Read) Code secured by nothing other than DNA. Without a doubt, this new product launch is yet another step toward the ultimate collection, databasing, and use of DNA by governments and corporations on a universal basis.
One quick note for those who are unaware of what a QR code is. QR codes are inked, coded diagrams that are recognizable by electronic scanners, often serving the same purpose as a barcode. These codes can be found on a wide variety of product packaging including the shipping labels used by companies like UPS. In addition, QR Codes are sometimes used as a part of smartphone apps which require the user to scan a barcode.
If Applied DNA Sciences has anything to say about it, however, QR Codes will become much more than mere ink blots on paper. Indeed, instead of containing basic inventory or app-related information as they have in the past, QR Codes will also contain strands of botanical DNA, a possible precursor to a more invasive and “secure” method of identification, tracking, and tracing in the not so distant future.
The new product is called digitalDNA and it is described by Government Security News as being “a new security tool that utilizes the flexibility of mobile communications, the instant accessibility of secure, cloud-based data, and the absolute certainty of DNA to make item tracking and authentification fast, easy and definitive, while providing the opportunity to create a new and exciting customer interface.”
Apart from that glowing description however, digitalDNA is actually a forensic authentication technology or, one could also say, a biometric encoding/reading program. At the heart of the system is the physical “sequence encryption” of “botanical DNA markers” into the ink used to print the QR Code. The pattern that results from the process, called a “rune,” can then be scanned using an Apple-approved app and an iPhone at any point during the shipping process.
The iPhone scan works by logging in to a “private, secure cloud” where it checks the DNA-based code it has just scanned with the one kept on file online in the Cloud. As GSN writes, “The tracking information is fed into ‘tunable algorithms’ that use pattern recognition to automatically identify supply chain risks, for counterfeits or product diversion.”
“Rapid-reading reporters,” which are closely linked with DNA markers, are physically present within the QR Code ink as well, and function as a means by which to prevent digital copying and phishing. As JGoodwin of GSN writes, “The un-copyable, botanically-derived DNA markers included in all digitalDNA codes serve as a forensic backstop in legal cases where absolute proof of originality is required. Forensic authentication of the DNA in the ink must match the sequences and length polymorphism found in the decrypted digitalDNA code.”
GSN continues, “The ubiquity of the iPhone platform allows the consumer to participate in the authentication scheme, quickly and easily. In addition, end-users could confirm freshness and expiration, connect to real-time or video technical support, identify local resources, easily place re-orders, and participate in peer-to-peer selling.”
This recently introduced technology allegedly developed out of a partnership that was established on January 25 between Applied DNA Sciences and DivineRune Inc., a company that specializes in cloud computing. However, with the announcement of the digitalDNA program made on May 10, after only four months of partnership, one might be justified in wondering whether or not this system was developed long before the financial agreement made between the two companies was divulged to the public. Indeed, four months is a very short time to forge corporate partnerships as well as envision, develop, and release a product like digitalDNA. Particularly, one that potentially has such fundamental implications for privacy if it is expanded to include human DNA in the future.
Both companies, in a joint statement, described the partnership as “taking APDN’s best-in-class anti-counterfeiting and authentication systems and marrying them to the best in secure mobile applications and advanced cloud computing.”
A similar product, Our Signature DNA, is in the pilot stages of military usage in compliance with Section 818 of the National Defense Authorization Act which mandates that defense manufacturers and suppliers take further steps to end counterfeiting within the supply chain.
However, digitalDNA is not necessarily for military use but for civilian purposes. Although the companies are much more vague about just what avenues they expect their new product to take, the fact is that they have a market in the waiting in many different areas; most notably in California where the E-Pedigree Law, which requires an electronic record of all sales of prescription drugs in the state, would fit perfectly with such a system.
While the digitalDNA program will be using botanical (plant) DNA for now, one must question whether or not this is merely a precursor to the use of actual human DNA for purposes of identification and verification.
Such a system is by no means outside the realm of possibility as iris, palm, and even vein scanners have been proposed in the past as reliable methods of identification and authentication.
Voice and facial recognition have also been introduced at the commercial level for the same purpose. So it is quite logical to assume that very soon individual DNA might be accepted as verification for payment or other functions.
Going one step further, one might also be justifiably concerned about whether or not this “new and improved” method of payment would then, like all the others, eventually become mandatory.
Much like the situation currently unfolding in India where all 1.2 billion residents are having their faces photographed, fingerprints taken, and iris’ scanned under the name of more secure and efficient distribution of services, we can easily see how such a justification might be used in the United States for a national database of private information, even including DNA, on every American citizen. After all, the Secure Communities program, along with IDENT and NGI were first rolled out under the guise of reducing illegal immigration, but are now slowly being applied to American citizens.
Admittedly, such a scenario is moving much further ahead than anything the digitalDNA program currently entails. However, given how technologies, particularly those that can eventually be used to reduce personal freedom and anonymity, are often introduced in individual increments, it would be wise not to lose sight of the direction in which this new system is moving.
Dr. James Hayward, President and CEO of APDN has stated that “digitalDNA could revolutionize supply chain security.” This much is not really debatable. However, the question is just how far this revolution will go and what the ramifications of it will be in regards to the privacy of the average person if it progresses to the logical next stage of including human DNA.
Read other articles by Brandon Turbeville here.
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Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Mullins, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor's Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of three books, Codex Alimentarius -- The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches from a Dissident. Turbeville has published over one hundred articles dealing with a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville is available for podcast, radio, and TV interviews. Please contact us at activistpost (at) gmail.com.
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