The CIA Is Funding Beauty Products That Collect Your DNA


The beauty product line Clearista will be familiar to Oprah fans and anybody who either uses beauty products or know someone who does. Their product line is based around a painless, non-invasive way to remove a thin layer of skin cells from the face, which is far more pleasant than what Gwyneth Paltrow puts herself through. It’s perfect for rejuvenating your look after a long week and also, it turns out, to allow the CIA to steal your DNA.

It turns out Clearista is funded at least in part by In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital firm. Yes, the CIA has a venture capital firm. Why? Because Clearista’s science is also good for acquiring your DNA without your knowledge! Which beats getting dyed pink by bath bombs, but only just.

Generally In-Q-Tel sticks to industrial products that the CIA would obviously be interested in, like faster translation software, video analysis tools, and chemical detectors. It does, however, occasionally throw money at odder ideas, like Sonitus Medical, a company that wanted to broadcast sound through your teeth. Clearista and its parent company Skincential Sciences would mark the first time the CIA has invested in a consumer product.

The appeal to the CIA is pretty obvious. Skin cells contain useful distinct biomarkers, which are relatively easily extracted, and Clearista is simple to use. In theory, you can easily use this stuff to get some cells off somebody’s hand painlessly and easily and then check them against a DNA database, and even do it without their knowledge.

To be fair, Skincential is only a cosmetics company by chance — its real goal is to use their process to develop better medical diagnostic tools and painless growth removers to help prevent skin cancer. It’s just that cosmetics are profitable, and thus a good method of raising capital to get those tools up and running. And if nothing else, it’s nice to know the CIA will approach its black ops feeling its best.

(Via The Intercept)