May 16, 2012
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
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
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
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.
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
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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