Intel agency warns of threats from China collecting sensitive US health data

The National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) on Monday warned that Chinese efforts to target and steal sensitive U.S. health data, including DNA, have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For years, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has collected large healthcare data sets from the U.S. and nations around the globe, through both legal and illegal means, for purposes only it can control,” the NCSC wrote in a fact sheet. “The PRC’s collection of healthcare data from America poses equally serious risks, not only to the privacy of Americans, but also to the economic and national security of the U.S.”

The agency noted that these efforts had increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, with Chinese biotech group BGI offering COVID-19 testing kits to the majority of countries, and establishing 18 testing labs over the past six months alone, none in the United States.

The NCSC wrote that U.S. health data was an attractive target for the Chinese government due to the diversity of the population, and because of the nation’s comparably lax safeguards for personal data.