The Daily Digest, 4/20/11

Is the Government Targeting our Genomes?

I’ve reported previously on the claims by some private citizens that they are “targeted individuals” of government experiments. That case, and my knowledge of these claims to date was limited to targeting neurological functioning. As it turns out, some individuals also believe that the government is using satellites to target their genomes. In the case today, the Federal Court of Claims dismissed a complaint alleging the government is beaming our genomes to satellites in outer space, which precisely sequence our genetic code, and then beam back specific “genetic viruses.” I know that whole-genome sequencing is rapidly advancing, and that the “$1000 genome” is on the horizon. But it would be pretty amazing if we could remotely sequence genomes through satellites. It sounds like this could be a good sequel to GATTACA.

[A footnote: The Court found that facts in the case today so problematic that it dropped a footnote to say that by recounting the facts in the complaint, it was not making findings of fact, but citing to the complaint itself.]

Flores v. U.S., 2011 WL 1457142 (Fed.Cl.,2011)
Plaintiffs bring claims under the Federal Torts Claims Act (FTCA) claiming that the federal government is conducting a genetic study on private minority citizens by using advanced technology with a direct signal to satellites in outer space that can calculate the genetic code and then inflict specific genetic viruses to inflict severe pain and death on individual citizens. The Court found that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the claim that the government is using satellites to cause them sever pain, injury and death. To the extent that plaintiffs assert claims under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, the Court found that those claims are also not within the Court’s jurisdiction. Plaintiffs allege that Sierra Medical Center failed to provide adequate medical care in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. The Court has jurisdiction over claims only when the provisions allegedly violated are money-mandating. Neither the Eighth nor Fourteenth Amendment is money-mandating. The Court therefore dismissed the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Likewise, the Court found that
the Plaintiffs’ allegations are “fanciful at best,” so that transfer to another court was unnecessary and futile.

About Nita A. Farahany

Professor of Law and Philosophy, Professor of Genome Sciences and Policy
This entry was posted in Neuroscience. Bookmark the permalink.

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