Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Privacy Law: An Online DNA Sequence Search Reveals Identities and Invades Individual Privacy Rights: It is an "Awareness Moment"

Invasions of privacy as are upcoming via Facebook "graph search" -- if not stopped in their tracks -- are facing individuals from yet another quarter of modern science and technology, namely, genetic DNA data available online.

Gina Kolata has the story at the New York Times in Search of DNA Sequences Reveals Full Identities, writing inter alia:
"“We are in what I call an awareness moment,” said Eric D. Green, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health.

There is no easy answer about what to do to protect the privacy of study subjects. Subjects might be made more aware that they could be identified by their DNA sequences. More data could be locked behind security walls, or severe penalties could be instituted for those who invade the privacy of subjects.

“We don’t have any claim to have the answer,” Dr. Green said. And opinions about just what should be done vary greatly among experts."
What is clear as a matter of law right now is that we should err on the side of privacy in order to stop a possible avalanche of privacy rights invasions that otherwise will be difficult to stop in the future.

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