Posts tagged with "Memo"

Pentagon memo warns that DNA kits pose ‘personal and operational risks’

December 31, 2019

The Pentagon is advising members of the military not to use consumer DNA kits—saying the information collected by private companies could pose a security risk, according to a memo co-signed by the Defense Department’s top intelligence official, Yahoo News has exclusively reported.

A growing number of companies—among them,  23andMe, Ancestry, and MyHeritagesell testing kits that provide consumers with a DNA profile, if they send in a cheek swab or saliva sample. They claim that their DNA profile offer insights into the buyer’s ancestry and possible medical risks—and even can even identify previously unknown family members.

The boom in popularity of such kits has raised ethical and legal issues, since some companies have shared this data with law enforcement, or sold it to third parties. Yahoo notes. But the latest to express its concerns publicly is the Defense Department.

“Exposing sensitive genetic information to outside parties poses personal and operational risks to Service members,” says the December 20 memo signed by Joseph D. Kernan, the undersecretary of defense for Intelligence, and James N. Stewart, the assistant secretary of defense for Manpower.

The memo — which says that some DNA kit companies have been targeting military personnel with discounts — appears to have been distributed widely within the Defense Department. The memo was obtained by Yahoo News.

These [direct-to-consumer] genetic tests are largely unregulated and could expose personal and genetic information, and potentially create unintended security consequences and increased risk to the joint force and mission,” states the memo.

The memo provides few details on how genetic profiles could endanger security, other than noting that potential “inaccuracies” in health information could pose a risk to military personnel, who are required to report medical issues. Most of the health reports provided by DNA companies typically pertain to medical risks, such as a predisposition to cancer, rather than diagnosing a condition.

Research contact: @YahooNews

Suit yourselves: Goldman Sachs relaxes dress code

March 6, 21019

Goldman Sachs Group —one of the leading investment banking firms worldwide, known for its buttoned-up, bespoke culture—announced on March 5 that it is relaxing the dress code for all of its employees, Reuters reported.

The firm, which has been in business since 1869, told employees to “suit themselves” in an internal memo to its 36,000 employees  outlining the new “firmwide flexible dress code.”

Management said the shift was due to “the changing nature of workplaces generally in favor of a more casual environment.”

The memo was signed by CEO David Solomon, a former investment banker who took the role in October;along with CFO Stephen Scherr and COO John Waldron.

Historically known as a white-shoe investment bank, Goldman Sachs traditionally required formal business attire. But since 2017, the bank began relaxing its dress code for employees in the technology division and other new digital businesses. This created a divide in the workforce as clear as denim versus pinstripes.

Like other Wall Street banks, Goldman has been competing to secure the best employees. Large technology firms and hedge funds often have more relaxed offices and perks. What’s more, over 75% of Goldman employees are members of the Millennial or Gen Z generations—people born after 1981.

“All of us know what is and is not appropriate for the workplace,” the memo reads—also reminding employees to dress “in a manner that is consistent” with clients’ expectations. “Of course, casual dress is not appropriate every day and for every interaction and we trust you will consistently exercise good judgment in this regard.”

Research contact: @eadilts

Judiciary Committee delays confirmation vote on Barr amid doubts by Dems

January 30, 2019

A scheduled Senate Judiciary Committee vote on the nomination of William Barr to be U.S. attorney general has been delayed by a week, to February 5, as Democrats on the panel continue to worry that he will cut the Russia inquiry short—or fail to release Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s full report to the Congress and the American people.

According to coverage by U.S. News & World Report, such delays—known as holdovers—are not uncommon. However, this one comes during a “pronounced partisan divide” over seating Barr, coming just one day after Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker told the media that the Mueller “investigation is, I think, close to being completed.”

Barr came under intense scrutiny from Democrats late last year, the news outlet said, when he sent an unsolicited memo to the Justice Department expressing doubts about the legitimacy of any inquiry into whether President Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice.

During the hearing, Barr has avowed, “…it is in the best interest of everyone—the president, Congress, and the American people—that this matter be resolved by allowing the special counsel to complete his work.”

However, to date, he has not promised to make the full report available when it is completed. Instead, Barr has pledged, “to provide as much transparency as I can consistent with the law”—a statement that brings little comfort to the opposition party.

Research contact: @alneuhauser