Managing Dual Use Technology: It Takes Two to Tango
Mourya, D T
Science and engineering ethics 2010 Mar ; 16(1): 77-83
Like nuclear energy, most technologies could have dual use-for health and well being and disaster and terror. Some research publications have brought to the forefront the tragic consequences of the latter potential through their possible use. Monitoring life science research and development (R&D) to prevent possible misuse is a challenging task globally, more so in developing economies like India, which are emerging as major biotech hubs. As a signatory to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, India has put in motion a process of evolving a series of measures to manage dual-use technology. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has taken a lead in drafting model codes of conduct, ethics and practice for use by other S&T agencies to tailor them as per their requirements. Taking cue from the discussions held by the editors of the various medical and science journals in the developed world, the Indian Journal of Medical Research, the official publication of the ICMR, is working on policy and uniform practice of publication of dual-use research results. The Government of India too has promulgated legal provisions to minimize the risks of misuse of technology, like the Weapons of Mass Destruction Act. Clearly, no single agency would be able to manage the dual-use of technology effectively. Multiple agencies have to come together to work in tandem for effective implementation of various measure and also like Janus, ensure that they are neither too restrictive nor intrusive to discourage the development of science.
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