Exploring the Possible Use of Information Barriers for future Biological Weapons Verification Regimes

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This report describes a path forward for implementing information barriers in a future generic biological arms-control verification regime. Information barriers have become a staple of discussion in the area of arms control verification approaches for nuclear weapons and components. Information barriers when used with a measurement system allow for the determination that an item has sensitive characteristics without releasing any of the sensitive information. Over the last 15 years the United States (with the Russian Federation) has led on the development of information barriers in the area of the verification of nuclear weapons and nuclear components. The work of the ... continued below

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PDF-file: 32 pages; size: 2.6 Mbytes

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Luke, S J December 20, 2011.

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Description

This report describes a path forward for implementing information barriers in a future generic biological arms-control verification regime. Information barriers have become a staple of discussion in the area of arms control verification approaches for nuclear weapons and components. Information barriers when used with a measurement system allow for the determination that an item has sensitive characteristics without releasing any of the sensitive information. Over the last 15 years the United States (with the Russian Federation) has led on the development of information barriers in the area of the verification of nuclear weapons and nuclear components. The work of the US and the Russian Federation has prompted other states (e.g., UK and Norway) to consider the merits of information barriers for possible verification regimes. In the context of a biological weapons control verification regime, the dual-use nature of the biotechnology will require protection of sensitive information while allowing for the verification of treaty commitments. A major question that has arisen is whether - in a biological weapons verification regime - the presence or absence of a weapon pathogen can be determined without revealing any information about possible sensitive or proprietary information contained in the genetic materials being declared under a verification regime. This study indicates that a verification regime could be constructed using a small number of pathogens that spans the range of known biological weapons agents. Since the number of possible pathogens is small it is possible and prudent to treat these pathogens as analogies to attributes in a nuclear verification regime. This study has determined that there may be some information that needs to be protected in a biological weapons control verification regime. To protect this information, the study concludes that the Lawrence Livermore Microbial Detection Array may be a suitable technology for the detection of the genetic information associated with the various pathogens. In addition, it has been determined that a suitable information barrier could be applied to this technology when the verification regime has been defined. Finally, the report posits a path forward for additional development of information barriers in a biological weapons verification regime. This path forward has shown that a new analysis approach coined as Information Loss Analysis might need to be pursued so that a numerical understanding of how information can be lost in specific measurement systems can be achieved.

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PDF-file: 32 pages; size: 2.6 Mbytes

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  • Report No.: LLNL-SR-525091
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • DOI: 10.2172/1034493 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1034493
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc831319

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  • December 20, 2011

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • Nov. 28, 2016, 2:34 p.m.

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Luke, S J. Exploring the Possible Use of Information Barriers for future Biological Weapons Verification Regimes, report, December 20, 2011; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc831319/: accessed August 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.