Hashtag Trending: Bill Gates warns about gene editing; AT&T cheats 5G; 23andMe sells your data

Bill Gates is warning about the dangers of gene editing tech, AT&T and its fake 5G update and a genetics testing company 23andMe deal exposes its data sharing.

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All of today’s stories come from Reddit.

First up: Bill Gates is warning that gene editing is “the most important public debate we haven’t been having.” In his year-end wrap up on his blog GatesNotes, he says the technology could make inequity worse, especially if it is available only for wealthy people. Gene editing is being increasingly used as one-time treatment for disease. But it made headlines, facing controversy in November when a Chinese scientist announced he had altered the genes of two embryos. Gates agrees this went too far but says he is glad it at least started the discussion around the ethical issues concerning gene editing technology.

Next up: 5G network is here! Well only according to AT&T. The American telecommunications company is in hot water after updating three smartphones from Samsung and LG with fake 5G connectivity logos. The phones cannot yet connect to 5G networks. AT&T admitted that this new 5G network was actually just regular 4G with a fresh logo. But was quickly trolled by the internet and fellow mobile companies including T-Mobile tweeting a video of it “updating” its network by easily adding a sticky labelled 9G on to a phone. AT&T’s logo change is apparently just that, a marketing strategy that has the company speed-boosting its network and labelling it as the “5G Evolution” according to a Verge report.

Finally: People on Reddit are talking about a recent deal with DNA-testing company 23andMe that exposes its data sharing practices. For those of you not familiar with 23andMe it’s a private biotechnology company. It offers people a spit-in-tube test and in turn, can tell you about your genetic DNA and ancestry. A recent deal gave one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies not only a $300 million stake in 23andMe but the ability to comb through its genetic data. Meaning the big pharma has access to the personal genetic information of 23andMe’s more than 5 million customers, 80 percent of which have opted-in to participate in “research,” according to the company website. Companies like 23andMe and Ancestry already frequently sell data to drugmakers and I don’t know about you but for me, all this brings up questions around privacy and security – is finding out your ancestry worth private companies having your genetic data?

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Meagan Simpson
Meagan Simpson
Meagan Simpson is a Jr. Staff Writer for IT World Canada. A graduate of Carleton University’s journalism program, she loves sports, travelling, reading and photography, and when not covering tech news she can be found cuddled up on the couch with her cat and a good book.

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