Thinking Tech

Former VocalTec CEO takes on biological identity theft

Former VocalTec CEO takes on biological identity theft

Posting in Finance

The dot-com boom sure taught Elon Ganor how to make a splash with a start-up.

Remember VocalTec?

It was a pioneer in voice over internet protocol (VOIP), which puts phone calls on the Internet, and briefly a billion-dollar play at the dawn of the decade.

It's now worth $10 million.

But there is no need to save your spare dimes for at least one of the VocalTec guys.

That's because former CEO Elon Ganor has a new start-up, Nucleix. Everyone is talking about it because it has identified a problem we did not know we had, and claims to have already solved it.

The problem is biological identity theft.

It first surfaced last month in a paper by a team headed by Ganor's co-founder, Dan Frumkin. The paper stated that standard DNA testing techniques can also let you create artificial DNA with any genetic profile you want.

All you need is a standard DNA testing kit plus access to the DNA database and you can finger anyone you want for your crime, Frumkin and his team wrote.

Science writers were astounded. The tabloids came running, followed quickly by Fox News.

What the papers did not say is that Nucleix had already secured patents on a technology that can distinguish the real DNA from the fake stuff, and that its business is commercializing the technology, along with a new testing procedure.

It's an interesting discovery. It does not, however, throw all those convictions obtained with DNA into doubt, since the technique was previously unknown and Nucleix claims to already have a fix for the problem.

But it's a great launch stunt. The dot-com boom sure taught Elon Ganor how to make a splash with a start-up.

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Dana Blankenhorn

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Dana Blankenhorn has written for the Chicago Tribune, Advertising Age's "NetMarketing" supplement and founded the Interactive Age Daily for CMP Media. He holds degrees from Rice and Northwestern universities. He is based in Atlanta. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure