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CIA's Venture Capital Arm Is Funding Skin Care Products That Collect DNA (theintercept.com) 62

sittingnut writes: The Intercept reports that Skincential Sciences, whose main product line is Clearista, has attracted media coverage because its "innovative line of cosmetic products marketed as a way to erase blemishes and soften skin" are funded by In-Q-Tel, a venture capital arm of the CIA. According to Russ Lebovitz, the chief executive of Skincential Sciences, the CIA fund told him they share an interest in looking at DNA extraction from "normal skin" using the method pioneered by his company. Lebovitz said he was unsure of the intent of the CIA's use of the technology, but the fund was "specifically interested in the diagnostics, detecting DNA from normal skin." He added, "There's no better identifier than DNA, and we know we can pull out DNA." Perhaps law enforcement could use the biomarker extraction technique for crime scene identification or could conduct drug tests, Lebovitz suggested.
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CIA's Venture Capital Arm Is Funding Skin Care Products That Collect DNA

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  • Uh... (Score:5, Informative)

    by pushing-robot ( 1037830 ) on Friday April 08, 2016 @10:00PM (#51872551)

    The CIA isn't "law enforcement". Spy agencies are pretty much the opposite of that.

    And they've been doing surreptitious DNA analysis for a while now. [npr.org]

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The CIA isn't "law enforcement".

      Then they should stop acting like they are, NSA too for that matter. Sorry to burst your bubble but the entire intelligence apparatus feeds law enforcement now, Constitution be damned.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The entire intelligence apparatus is unconstitutional. Literally there is nothing in the constitution granting the government that power. We as a people have tolerated it as a necessity of running a country. In turn we expect good behavior in return for our generosity.

        They have abused that trust. For decades. It is time to end these agencies and put new ones in their place. Ones more tightly controlled and accountable. Ones staffed by people who know their jobs don't involve spying on or trying to co

  • There's no better identifier than DNA

    uh, for what? identifying markers for genetic diseases, phrenological alternative, neat T-Shirt designs? because if you're talking about identifying criminals its still nowhere near an exact science and depends very greatly on the disposition of prosecution and the care taken during collection as well as a wealth of other environmental factors.

    and we know we can pull out DNA.

    dial it back there Kafka. your job is intelligence, not the blanket collection all mankinds genetic marker for some clandestine plot point to a steven king movie.

    • Perhaps they want to create a disabling strain of acne to take out script kiddies everywhere, once and for all.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Re for what? Why do you need this DNA
      http://www.theguardian.com/wor... [theguardian.com] (Tuesday 12 July 2011)
      • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

        Yes I remember that imho thats killed a lot of people by hampering actual vaccination campaigns.

        Not to mention the doctors that have been killed under suspicion since then.

    • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

      There's no better identifier than DNA

      uh, for what? identifying markers for genetic diseases, phrenological alternative, neat T-Shirt designs? because if you're talking about identifying criminals its still nowhere near an exact science and depends very greatly on the disposition of prosecution and the care taken during collection as well as a wealth of other environmental factors.

      True... a good photo/video (or even credible eye witness) is still a much better identifier than DNA, especially in the minds of most juries.

      and we know we can pull out DNA.

      dial it back there Kafka. your job is intelligence, not the blanket collection all mankinds genetic marker for some clandestine plot point to a steven king movie. Why do you need this DNA, how are you going to use it, are you even going about this legally?

      No, his job is a research biochemist working on extraction of DNA/biological markers from skin as pure research. You are quoting the CEO of the company, not the CIA investors.

  • Hey, maybe The Company is teaming up with a variety of consumer goods makers to integrate micro-miniature, networked DNA collectors in toothbrushes, mattresses, hairbrushes, shoes, nail clippers, steering wheel manufacturers...

  • Have you seen the ugly mugs they have there? I think they're just trying to make the staff prettier.
  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Friday April 08, 2016 @10:13PM (#51872601)

    They had a duel use vaccination project in pakistan where they gathered blood samples for DNA analysis. The DNA was scanned for similarities to Osama bin Ladin. The notion was that if they found a cluster of people with genetic similarities they would find him... blood relations etc.

    The value to the CIA would be identifying people and associations of blood. It will also reveal unusual genetics in the population... people that might appear outwardly similar might contain genetic markers from a different population and that could give a hint as to someone to watch.

    That is the idea in any case.

    This is military intelligence work... not a legal investigation. The point is to find something that can give you a hint as to what is going on. Not to convict beyond a shadow of a doubt.

    • The notion was that if they found a cluster of people with genetic similarities they would find him... blood relations etc.

      It's a good thing bin Laden wasn't from Kentucky, where there are 4.4 million people, and 4.2 million are related by blood.

      • Inbreeding is vastly more common in many other places in the world actually. I also think you mean west Virginia... that's where the banjos are more likely to play. Or possibly in the bayou portions of the Louisianan. That's especially common amongst the remaining french population out there. Its done in part to preserve their culture. Rather impressive to have maintained their old french heritage through all these years.

        Of course, unlike the British that largely have good respectful relations with the ango

        • the genetics of the terrorists are often distinct from the general population.

          ?? There's a "terrorism" gene? I did not know that! Maybe you misspelled "tourist", seeing as their DNA might differ a bit from the locals. But it's still probably still easier to just lift the print off the martini glass.

          • Don't be obtuse... I said no such thing. I was referring to people that are not native to the area engaging in terrorism. This was something we saw with some consistency in Afghanistan where we often had fighters operating from totally different countries in Afghanistan. People from Pakistan, Iran, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, etc. Simply being able to identify population groups rapidly can help you get a good idea of where to look if you suspect that the trouble is being imported or otherwise coming from outsi

    • They had a duel use vaccination project

      It protected against swords and pistols?

    • by KGIII ( 973947 )

      For the record, the burden of proof in your country is "beyonda reasonable doubt." It is not beyond a shadow of a doubt. Except in civil cases. In your country, the State must convince the judge or jury that the defendant "more likely than not" committed the alleged offense.

      • I was very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very clear that this was not something you would use in a court case but rather something you'd use for military intelligence in a war zone or intelligence operation.

        So... how much more very clear do I have to be about that to avoid you saying "for the record" after I was so VERY clear?

        Give me a brea

        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          That was in addition to and not contrary to. It was to clarify and not to argue. I was very very very very very blah blah blah clear about that. At least I figured the "for the record" would be indicative of such. Obviously not, however.

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Friday April 08, 2016 @11:00PM (#51872759)

    ... than their usual method of collecting DNA by clipping the finger tip off of an interrogation subject with garden shears.

  • I don't think it is at all difficult to sniff out millions of criminals without using DNAS or other spooky tactics. The problem is that once you grab a bad guy just what have you got? There is a man doing a 20-year sentence in Florida. And they really mean 20 years. He should not be in prison at all. But they say it costs $40,000 per year to keep him in prison. Due to his age, that estimate is actually quite low, as his medical issues are increasing. So that one inmate will certainly cost the p
    • by KGIII ( 973947 )

      Wait. What?

      Are you advocating we incarcerate nobody? Are you saying there's a point where we have to just give up because it's too expensive and that anyone convicted after a certain financial criteria has been met just remains free?

      Let me just be the first one to say that's a dumb idea.

      Now, we (Americans) have way too many people incarcerated. True. However, we can't opt to not incarcerate large groups of people just to lower the budget. That's... Umm... Well, that's not justice. That's not even remotely j

      • Have you ever considered why we have so many more prisoners per capita than any other country in the western world? It's not because our population is more evil than everywhere else's. No, there are two possibilities: either (a) other countries are failing to incarcerate a lot of people who deserve it, or (b) we are incarcerating a whole bunch of people who don't deserve it. Given that other countries don't seem to be overrun with criminals and lawlessness, I'm inclined to believe it's the latter.

  • Total bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Saturday April 09, 2016 @12:57AM (#51873199)

    this is just some companies propoganda. It's duck soup to recover DNA from any skins sluffing. You don't need any special product. Total astroturf to hitch their wagon to the CIA and sucker slashdot to put it on the front page.

  • I'm kinda attached to my DNA, I'd rather the CIA didn't collect it for any purposes!
    • by KGIII ( 973947 )

      LOL You really think they don't already have it? Did they collect a blood sample when you were born? Any other time? Never? (Blood's not actually the greatest way to get DNA, so I'm told - but it works or so I'm told. I'm not a DNA-octologist or nuffin.)

      At any rate... Do you live in a first world nation? Yeah? I'm betting they either have it or can have it pretty easily - with or without your consent or even knowledge. I enlisted. They took blood. I'm betting they kept it. I'd not be remotely surprised to f

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