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Biotech Privacy

Stanford Identifies Potential Security Hole In Genomic Data-Sharing Network 23

An anonymous reader writes: Sharing genomic information among researchers is critical to the advance of biomedical research. Yet genomic data contains identifiable information and, in the wrong hands, poses a risk to individual privacy. If someone had access to your genome sequence — either directly from your saliva or other tissues, or from a popular genomic information service — they could check to see if you appear in a database of people with certain medical conditions, such as heart disease, lung cancer or autism. Work by a pair of researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine makes that genomic data more secure. Researches have demonstrated a technique for hacking a network of global genomic databases and how to prevent it. They are working with investigators from the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health on implementing preventive measures.
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Stanford Identifies Potential Security Hole In Genomic Data-Sharing Network

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    You're flat-out an idiot if you give your DNA to any database of any kind anywhere. Electronic medical records are likely just as bad though, I have no doubts that all your EMRs are going straight into a government (FBI, NSA, etc) database as just one more means to track the average citizen. Of course just giving a blood sample is probably getting you into a government shadow DNA database anyway so I guess it doesn't matter.
    • by ve3oat ( 884827 )

      You're flat-out an idiot if you give your DNA to any database of any kind anywhere.

      I disagree. The "standard" 67 Short Tandem Repeat (STR) Y-chromosome markers used for paternal-line genealogy are perfectly safe, with one exception. The exception is an extremely rare mutation of one of the markers (DYS410) which carries significant medical information, but it is so rare I have never heard of anyone having this mutation (although someone must have or we wouldn't know about it). So Y-chromosome testing for genealogical purposes is pretty safe. Dozens, hundreds, even thousands of men all

  • The lesson, which the world teaches you daily in the headlines is once data and PID is in electronic form, unless it's encrypted and never decrypted (and thus useless for analysis using today's technology) then it is not safe and WILL be exposed, revealed, possibly leveraged against you in both likely and forseen and unlikely and unforeseen ways.

    The lesson is- never believe anyone who tells you that your data is secure.

    The implications are- anything you say or do may be used against you. So act as though th

    • As long as there are no data privacy laws, and until there are very harsh penalties for failing to keep your data safe, your data pretty much isn't safe and never will be.

      Between people doing a bad job of anonymizing, or companies wanting to monetize your information, there is no incentive to keep your data secure, and no penalty for failing to do so.

      You are completely correct, this stuff will get tied to you, it will get used for things you never consented to, and it will come back to bite you in the ass.


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