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[Slashdot] - An Anonymous Group Claims it Took DNA From Global Elites -- And is Auctioning It Off

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An anonymous organization called the Earnest Project is offering the chance to own DNA samples of a handful of world leaders and celebrities. The group claims it has surreptitiously collected items discarded by attendees of the 2018 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that may contain their DNA. President Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Elton John all attended the conference. From a report: The group has compiled these artifacts -- napkins, paper coffee cups, a glass parfait jar, cigarette butts, and other items -- in an online catalog it calls the "Davos Collection." Each has an estimated dollar value: A strand of human hair is listed at $1,200 to $3,000. A used breakfast fork has an estimated worth up to $36,500. And a wine glass is valued at up to $65,000. None of the items are identified with names, but it's assumed they come from the leaders or celebrities at the forum. The Earnest Project is planning to auction off the items to raise awareness about "surveillance capitalism," the practice of monetizing people's personal data. They fear that our genetic data could eventually end up in the hands of tech companies like Facebook and Google, which already harvest a lot of personal data. "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," the Earnest Project told OneZero in an email. "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." Now that genetic testing is getting cheaper and companies are developing hand-held DNA sequencing devices, it's no longer a far-off possibility that someone could take your DNA, get it analyzed, and use it against you for blackmail, extortion, or discrimination. The Earnest Project had planned to hold the auction in New York on February 20 but is postponing the sale due to "unresolved legal issues," according to a statement emailed to OneZero.

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Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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