An anonymous organization called the Earnest Project is offering
the chance to own DNA samples of a handful of world leaders and
celebrities. The group claims it has surreptitiously collected items
discarded by attendees of the 2018 World Economic Forum in Davos,
Switzerland, that may contain their DNA. President Trump, French
President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and
Elton John all attended the conference. The group has compiled these
artifacts -- napkins, paper coffee cups, a glass parfait jar,
cigarette butts, and other items -- in an online catalog it calls
the "Davos Collection." Each has an estimated dollar value: A strand
of human hair is listed at $1,200 to $3,000. A used breakfast fork
has an estimated worth up to $36,500. And a wine glass is valued
at up to $65,000. None of the items are identified with names, but
it's assumed they come from the leaders or celebrities at the forum.
The Earnest Project is planning to auction off the items to raise
awareness about "surveillance capitalism," the practice of monetizing
people's personal data. They fear that our genetic data could
eventually end up in the hands of tech companies like Facebook and
Google, which already harvest a lot of personal data.

"By collecting and selling vital and sensitive data harvested from
the most powerful people on the planet, we hope to encourage a
visceral reaction against surveillance capitalism among the elite,"
the Earnest Project told OneZero in an email. "We're all constantly
depositing our DNA around us and on discarded items. Once you start
paying attention, it's really quite easy to collect a target's DNA."
Now that genetic testing is getting cheaper and companies are
developing hand-held DNA sequencing devices, it's no longer a far-off
possibility that someone could take your DNA, get it analyzed, and
use it against you for blackmail, extortion, or discrimination. The
Earnest Project had planned to hold the auction in New York on
February 20 but is postponing the sale due to "unresolved legal
issues," according to a statement emailed to OneZero.

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