23andMe’s FDA coup hazardous to personal DNA data security?

click to enlargeGenetic test developer 23andMe’s wins with the FDA [TTA 20 Feb] served to clear the path for their current Bloom Syndrome and future kits as Class II devices. It’s long been believed that the company’s real diamond mine is in selling the DNA data gained through the kits, and with consent, to major pharma and medical companies. Proof: recent collaboration announcements with Genentech and Pfizer on genetic research. But how will this data be safeguarded? It may not be a significant concern now, but “Personal DNA information will become far more critical and more important to safeguard than the details of our life circumstances”. Hackermania’s Running Wild with AnthemHealth-sized data breaches [TTA 11 Feb], and unlike credit cards and SSIs, your DNA doesn’t change–once it is public, it’s never private again. Vivek Wadhwa of the Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University and director of research at Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at Duke University argues the case in VentureBeat. Also FierceHealthIT. Gizmodo in ‘How Private Is Your DNA’ nearly three years ago exposed the awful truth–that states have no laws in place, and that while DNA gathered for research is largely anonymized, what can happen to non-anonymized data used in further research–such as that in 23andMe’s database? (Photo: Gizmodo)

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