In a great bit of news for World Food Day, a key Brazilian congressional committee today withdrew the consideration of legislation that would have allowed the sale and use of Terminator Technology, also known as suicide seeds. The Constitutional Commission of the Brazilian House of Representatives was slated to consider Bill PL 268/2007 this morning, but decided instead to withdraw it from the agenda – taking into account the social concerns raised by the national and international mobilization in opposition to the bill. Further, the President of the Commission pledged that as long as he is at the helm, he will not allow the bill back on the agenda.
Terminator & 'New Enclosures'
The genetic modification of plants to produce sterile seeds (dubbed "Terminator" technology by ETC Group) has been widely condemned as an immoral application of biotechnology. If commercialized, Terminator would prevent farmers from re-using seed from their harvest, forcing them to return to the commercial seed market for every planting. But Terminator is just one of a range of technological and legal strategies that corporations are developing to exercise monopoly control over the stuff of life -- strategies that ETC Group refers to as "New Enclosures." Non-patent approaches, such as genetic trait control, satellite surveillance, and digital rights management software could be used to impose new monopolies beyond intellectual property as the predominant means of corporate control in the 21st century.