10:00 GMT06 April 2020
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    Tech giants already have access to personal information about millions of people, who often voluntarily share information about their life. An organisation called the Earnest Project fears that one day our genetic information could end up in the hands of corporations. To stop this, they’ve decided to encourage world leaders to act.

    An anonymous organisation has claimed that have they snatched DNA samples from several world leaders and celebrities, who attended the 2018 World Economic Forum in Davos and are ready to auction them off, OneZero reports. According to the group, called the Earnest Project, they collected the artifacts/trash that the VIP guests of the grand gathering in Switzerland discarded, which have traces of their genetic material. The list of attendees includes US President Donald Trump, his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel as well as financier George Soros and stars like Elton John.

    The so-called “Davos Collection”, which includes napkins, paper cups, cigarette butts, hair or forks, has been catalogued and estimated. The price varies from $1,200 for human hair to $65,000 for a wine glass. However, the catalogue does not say whose genetic traces each item carries.

    The auction of these artifacts, set to take place in New York, was planned for 20 February, however, it was later delayed due to “unresolved legal issues”, as the organisers stated. The information about whether these items on sale have the traces of DNA from top politicians cannot be verified. So no one can say for sure yet if this is an actual auction or some kind of performance art to attract attention to the problem of the vulnerability of our data.

    According to the group, their main goal is to raise awareness about “surveillance capitalism” when tech behemoths can collect the most sensitive data about users. The organisation’s concern is that they could eventually get their hands on our genetic data, which could reveal information about any person’s diseases, ancestry or relations and can be used for blackmail. The auction is aimed at encouraging the elite to act.

    “By collecting and selling vital and sensitive data harvested from the most powerful people on the planet, we hope to encourage a visceral reaction against surveillance capitalism among the elite. We’re all constantly depositing our DNA around us and on discarded items. Once you start paying attention, it’s really quite easy to collect a target’s DNA”, the organisation told OneZero via email.

    However, they have reservations about possible reactions to their stunt.

    “The question is whether the powerful will protect only themselves or all of us”, the group said.

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    Tags:
    surveillance, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel, Donald Trump, George Soros, DNA, Davos, World Economic Forum in Davos
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