The Flinchum File

Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions
Subscribe to the Flinchum File
View Archives

Money and Power

I think the first time in my life that I ever felt small and weak was in 2010, while in Beijing on a tour with the Chamber of Commerce. Among other things, we learned about the Chinese law that all data is property of the government.

One afternoon, I skipped the tour for an un-escorted walk around the city.  By accident, I stumbled across the gigantic headquarters of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).  Although I’d been inside the Pentagon a number of times, it didn’t feel as huge nor ominous as the CCP headquarters.  I felt small and weak.

Totally unrelated, some years later, I became a customer of “23andme,” a bio-genetic testing company for consumers.  It was interesting but not really useful.  Then, in 2015, 23andme needed to raise additional capital, and one of their new investors was WuXi Healthcare Ventures.  Of course, there were the requisite assurances that WuXi was not owned by the CCP and would never share data with them . . . R-I-G-H-T !

I never used 23andme again, knowing much of my genetic data had already gone straight to the CCP – maybe in Wuhan?  (Worse, 23andme is now acquiring more American data, having just announced their acquisition of Lemonaid Health.)  Unfortunately, Bio-data can be weaponized!

The National Counterintelligence and Security Center just released their analysis and conclusion that China had dedicated themselves to quickly surpassing the U.S. in artificial intelligence, quantum computing, semiconductors, and “bioeconomy”.  Normally, we think the continuing assault on our privacy is coming from Facebook and Google and others who sell advertising for money.  Now, we also need to fear state-actors, like China & Russia, who can and will weaponize our personal data – maybe in Wuhan?

It was bad enough when our personal data about us was monetized, but it is intolerable that it is now being weaponized against us.

Protect yourself . . . trust NOTHING online!