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The Future of Biotechnology Crime: A Parallel Delphi Study with Non-Traditional Experts

Elgabry, Mariam; Nesbeth, Darren; Johnson, Shane; (2022) The Future of Biotechnology Crime: A Parallel Delphi Study with Non-Traditional Experts. Futures , 141 , Article 102970. 10.1016/j.futures.2022.102970. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: The way science is practiced is changing and forecasting biotechnology crime trends remains a challenge as future misuses become more sophisticated. METHODS: A parallel Delphi study was conducted to elicit future biotechnology scenarios from two groups of experts. Traditional experts, such as professionals in national security/intelligence, were interviewed. They were asked to forecast emerging crime trends facilitated by biotechnology and what should be done to safeguard against them. Non-traditional experts, such as “biohackers” who experiment with biotechnology in unexpected ways, were also interviewed. The study entailed three rounds to obtain consensus on (i) biotechnology misuse anticipated and (ii) potential prevention strategies expected. RESULTS: Traditional and non-traditional experts strongly agreed that misuse is anticipated within the cyber-infrastructure of, for example, medical devices and hospitals, through breaches and corporate espionage. Preventative steps that both groups strongly advocated involved increasing public biosecurity literacy, and funding towards addressing biotechnology security. Both groups agreed that the responsibility for mitigation includes government bodies. Non-traditional experts generated more scenarios and had a greater diversity of views. DISCUSSION: A systematic, anonymous and independent interaction with a diverse panel of experts provided meaningful insights for anticipating emerging trends in biotechnology crime. A multi-sector intervention strategy is proposed.

Type: Article
Title: The Future of Biotechnology Crime: A Parallel Delphi Study with Non-Traditional Experts
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.futures.2022.102970
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.futures.2022.102970
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Delphi, Synthetic biology, Crime, Biotechnology, Futures, Biohackers
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Biochemical Engineering
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10150087
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