National Academy Views Biosecurity, Access to Information

02.02.06 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

A major new report from the National Research Council warns of future
biological threats and urges increased attention to mechanisms for
prevention, detection, mitigation and response to the destructive
use of biological agents.

But secrecy is not one of those mechanisms, the report says.

“In general, restrictive regulations and the imposition of
constraints on the flow of information are not likely to reduce the
risks that advances in the life sciences will be utilized with
malevolent intent in the future.”

“In fact, they will make it more difficult for civil society to
protect itself against such threats and ultimately are likely to
weaken national and human security.”

“The Committee endorses and affirms policies and practices that, to
the maximum extent possible, promote the free and open exchange of
information in the life sciences,” the report’s first recommendation

The report contains some valuable extended discussion of information
policy in the context of biosecurity (esp. pp. 163-171).

See this January 31 news release for “Globalization, Biosecurity, and
the Future of the Life Sciences.”