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  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: June 2012

16 - Security and defence: security sensitivity, publication and warfare

from Section 4 - Our duties to ourselves

Summary

Objectives

In reading this chapter you will:

consider how biotechnological advances might be used for hostile purposes;

reflect on the adequacy of current attempts to guard against this;

learn about ‘dual-use’ technologies and the difficulties that attend them;

consider the possible ramifications of ‘open-source wetware’;

reflect on the possible impact of ‘garage-biology’ on our ability to keep ourselves safe;

reflect on the extent to which we can sensibly assess risk in this area;

identify and evaluate possible responses to the threat of bioweaponry.

In this chapter we shall be discussing the fact that biotechnology can be used for hostile purposes. In particular we shall be looking at the use of biotechnology to produce weapons with which to wreak havoc. The intentional dispersal of the Ebola virus in a city, for example, would have appalling consequences. So would the use of nano-vehicles to deliver toxic agents into the lungs of a platoon of soldiers or the hostile release of harmful self-replicating organisms into the environment.

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