Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Privacy with Genomics and Personalized Medicine

Today there is a movement within the Genomic Industry, in recruiting medical facilities and individuals for contributing to the Genomic databases. Secure storage, data transfer and analysis represent major challenges that really need to be addressed. Much of the personal genomic sequences today are being published on the web, some publicly available, which poses some serious privacy concerns.

There is a push for soliciting more people to volunteer in the name of medicine R&D towards enabling more personalized medicine in the future. The key is to use DNA information to prevent and treat disease. There are good reasons for using DNA sequences in medicine, but making it available on the internet will also pose major vulnerabilities in your privacy, it opens up a Pandora's box of prejudices and biases for insurance coverage, employment, and more. It also gives social engineers data to feed for profit on you. So, it's important to stop and think about handling this major 'identifier' of yourself to the World Wide Web.

Should you decide to get a DNA sequence for personalized medicine, the best approach is to request from the research or medical facility the certification and accreditation on their security controls in place for managing this type of data. Ask them if they certified HIPAA & FISMA accredited.

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