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Antiterror ethics code urged

Science needs stronger self-regulation to prevent misuse by terrorists, UK politicians say

Anna Fazackerley(afazackerley@yahoo.co.uk)

British members of parliament (MPs) today called for the introduction of an ethical code of conduct for scientists, to heighten awareness of the potential misuse of their research by terrorists. They also attacked the government for failing to respond to inject cash into counterterrorist research.

The final report of the House of Commons Science And Technology Committee's inquiry into the scientific response to terrorism, published this morning (November 6), warned that if the scientific community did not take stronger action to regulate itself, it risked having “ill-judged restrictions” placed upon it by politicians, due to mounting concern within the UK government. But the code of conduct has received a lukewarm reaction from the UK research community, at a time when leading American scientists are protesting about “punitive” federal treatment of bioterrorist researchers.

The committee expressed alarm that there had been very little new investment in research into countermeasures to...

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