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The Future of Biotechnology Crime: Are We Prepared for it?

Elgabry, Mariam; (2022) The Future of Biotechnology Crime: Are We Prepared for it? Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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New technology, including biotechnology, can lead to new crime opportunities when security is overlooked. Synthetic biology is an engineering science that enables the redesigning of existing natural biological systems. A systematic review (SR) protocol using a Crime Science paradigm was developed and deployed to define the criminogenic (i.e., crime producing) potential of synthetic biology, classifying eight distinct crime types. The theoretical concept of the Conjunction of Criminal Opportunity (CCO) was used to map the crime opportunity landscape, identifying the elements required for biotechnology crime to occur and what supercontrollers can be targeted to prevent a crime harvest from occurring in the future. Findings of SR show that non-traditional experts are not consulted and that there is an absence of red teaming. The aim of this thesis is to inform, influence and underpin evidence-based policymaking in the UK and abroad regarding biotechnology crime and, where relevant, to change organisational culture and practices to improve national security. Fieldwork was conducted with biohackers, who represent what might be described as a hidden population. A parallel Delphi process was conducted with biohackers and biosecurity stakeholders shows that non-traditional experts such as biohackers make innovative contributions to the direction of national policy through proactive identification of early warnings. Using a case study of a novel prototype ingestible bioelectronics device informed by the Delphi process and the SR investigation, experiments were conducted as an activity to enable the assessment of the relevance of current security systems for safeguarding against potential cyber-biosecurity threats, with likely hacking routes identified. Developing a framework that embeds the Delphi process within a hackathon, the Hybrid Hackathon Delphi Model, shows that the red-teaming approach can be introduced into national security decision-making to integrate complementary practical suggestions through an active design process. The significance of this study influences governance of biotechnology and its relationship with non-traditional experts, especially when considering the value of a red-teaming approach hitherto lacking, which is integral to our empirical understanding in shaping cyber-biosecurity policy.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The Future of Biotechnology Crime: Are We Prepared for it?
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2022. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
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 Security and Crime Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10155529
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