How Private Is Your DNA?

DNA privacy

How is my DNA NOT private?

Unlike the contents of your inbox, bank statement, or Facebook timeline, your DNA quite literally defines you. It’s strange, then, that in an age where sequencing the genome is becoming trivial, we don’t give a second thought about the privacy issues surrounding the chemicals that make us who we are.

In fact, most states in the US have absolutely no laws whatsoever to govern surreptitious genetic testing. If that surprises you, it gets worse. Back in 2006, the particularly forward-thinking state of Minnesota passed a law demanding that written consent had to be obtained for collection, storage, use, and sharing of genetic information. In 2011, however, the Minnesota Supreme Court judged that the state’s own department of health was in violation of that very law.

So, quite literally millions of US citizen have their DNA records stored on databases, and there are few laws governing what’s done with the data. Something has to be done about that—but it’s not necessarily as easy as it sounds.

Clamp down on DNA privacy…

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