It was the mid-1960s and Nicholas “Nick” Donofrio G’71, H’11 described it as a “great time” for electrical engineers. They were in huge demand and the young graduate from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute took a job at IBM in Poughkeepsie, New…
Healthcare Data, DNA Database Dangers During Pandemic
What could happen if massive amounts of American health data got into the hands of the largest Chinese biotech company in the world? U.S. intelligence officials are sounding the alarm. CBS’ “60 Minutes” episode airing Jan. 31 explores the dangerous implications of foreign access to American healthcare data, and what that could mean in terms of controling of the world’s biodata.
Kathleen Corrado is executive director of the Forensic and National Security Sciences Institute at Syracuse University. She has more than 25 years of experience as a forensic science practitioner. Below, she offers a written perspective about the dangers of unregulated DNA databases and common practices related to electronic privacy.
“We all regularly hear about the power of DNA in criminal investigations. Many of us are also familiar with the privacy concerns surrounding law enforcement DNA databases, yet thousands of people are voluntarily submitting their DNA to private unregulated DNA databases to trace their heritage. In addition, some of us have been unknowingly abdicating our electronic privacy every time we download a new app on our phone or use our smart home devices.
“While it can be argued that we all should be better educated about the full ramifications of these decisions, it is deeply troubling that anyone would consider taking advantage of people undergoing a DNA test for this virus during the pandemic.
“There are clear ethical and national security implications if what CBS’ ‘60 Minutes’ is reporting is true.”
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