Kremlin considers classifying genetic data of Russians

Rospotrebnadzor, Russia's Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare, prepared a bill aiming at protecting information obtained from the biological and genetic material of Russians. The corresponding document was published on the website of normative legal acts.

Lawmakers believe that the changes should be made to the law “On Personal Data” and the law "On Protection of Consumers' Rights”, which will impose restrictions on the personal data processing and the provision of services related to the use and handling of biological and human genetic material.

The document suggests protecting the “information about a person that was obtained from his biomaterial.’ The explanatory note to the draft bill says it includes genomic data about Russians that would reveal additional information about them such as their health status, nutrition, lifestyle, behavioral features and sensitivity to pharmacological drugs among other things.

The document also specifies that “The bill also provides for the possibility of establishing Russian government services rules, including health, related to the use and treating of biological and genetic material.”

Rospotrebnadzor explained that such initiatives are needed “to establish additional means to protect citizens from the uncontrolled proliferation of information about them.” According to the bill’s authors, the proposed bill does “comply with international legislation and regulatory approaches in the treatment of biological material in the EU, US, UK, Australia and Germany.”

According to the information on the Russia’s government website, the document was developed in accordance with the instructions of Russian President Vladimir Putin dated December 1, 2017. Last February, Putin ordered large-scale genome research to be conducted in Russia. He said that the current level of technology development is so high that scientists can actually “get into the genetic code.” As the President noted, “It’s quite real now that it will be possible to create another person ‘with the given characteristics.’”

  Russia, Putin, Rospotrebnadzor, USA