Health Exchanges' Sharing of Patient Data Heightens Privacy Concerns

by jeeg 17. May 2012 21:26
Victor Hand, a semi-retired railway manager in Maine, grew so alarmed when he learned that his state was building a database to store all residents' medical files that he rushed to the hospital to try to opt out.   "I sure don't want my information in that thing," Hand said. "I just don't think they can keep it private. If I knew for sure that nobody could get it but my doctors, then maybe I'd participate, but there's no way to guarantee that.'' Maine was one of the first states t... [More]

DHS Considers Collecting DNA From Kids; DEA and US Marshals Already Do

by jeeg 16. May 2012 23:32
Documents just released by US Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) in response to one of EFF’s Freedom of Information Act requests show that DHS is considering collecting DNA from kids ages 14 and up—and is exploring expanding its regulations to allow collection from kids younger than that. The proposal appears to be working its way through DHS in the wake of regulations from the Department of Justice that require all federal agencies—including DHS and its components su... [More]

Utah hiring crisis team to manage health data breach

by jeeg 16. May 2012 22:39
The state of Utah is hiring a public relations firm to handle “crisis communications” in the wake of a health data breach that put the personal information of 780,000 people at risk.   The contract will be short-lived and will cost between $100,000 and $200,000, according to a solicitation published on May 11. It calls for building a communications plan to “rebuild trust with the public, specifically those who were directly impacted by the breach and those who rel... [More]

Initiative to label GMO food likely to appear on California ballot

by jeeg 15. May 2012 23:57
A California initiative to require labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients appeared headed for the ballot in November after organizers said on Wednesday they had gathered nearly 1 million signatures in favor of the measure. The hotly contested proposal is similar to measures being pushed in other U.S. states and at the federal level as GMO opponents demand more transparency in food products. The California measure would require labeling of foods made with biotech corn... [More]

D.I.Y. Biology, on the Wings of the Mockingjay

by jeeg 11. May 2012 19:18
Genetically modified organisms are not wildly popular these days, except one: a fictional bird that is central to the hugely popular movie and book trilogy “The Hunger Games.” That’s the mockingjay, a cross between a mockingbird and a genetically engineered spy bird called a jabberjay. The action in “The Hunger Games” takes place in a fictional future in which teenagers are forced to hunt and kill one another in annual competitions designed to entertain and sup... [More]

Researcher death highlights dangers of pathogen work

by jeeg 10. May 2012 22:35
  A researcher in the US has died of a disease caused by the bacteria he was studying. The tragedy highlights the dangers of research on human respiratory germs. Research on airborne mutants of H5N1 bird flu is currently under an indefinite moratorium, partly over fears of just such laboratory infections. Richard Din was working on Neisseria meningitidis at the Veterans Health Research Institute in San Francisco. The bacteria live harmlessly in the noses of 10 per cent of people, especi... [More]

First Comes The $1,000 genome, Then Comes The $10,000 Analysis

by jeeg 10. May 2012 19:30
While everyone in the in the world of sequencing has heard this cynical joke, as an industry, the joke is about to be on us. We have focused our time, energy and investment on the ability to sequence the genome in a day, and have largely ignored the computational power required to extract and analyze the genomic data in a timeframe that keeps it relevant. This disparity creates significant risk of delay to the pace of research and creates a scenario where the joke becomes &l... [More]

Whole Genome Sequencing Not Informative for All, Experts Say

by jeeg 8. May 2012 20:49
With sharp declines in the cost of whole genome sequencing, the day of accurately deciphering disease risk based on an individual's genome may seem at hand. But a study involving data of thousands of identical twins by Johns Hopkins investigators finds that genomic fortune-telling fails to provide informative guidance to most people about their risk for most common diseases, and warns against complacency born of negative genome test results. Findings from the Johns Hopkins researchers' ev... [More]

Maryland misdirected in DNA emphasis, public defender says

by jeeg 4. May 2012 23:35
The state has overemphasized collecting DNA samples from those arrested for crimes of violence to solve cases while not putting enough resources into gathering forensic evidence at crime scenes, according to an official with the Maryland Public Defender’s Office. State officials are making a “hysterical argument” that they need to be able to continue to collect the evidence from suspects, said Steven Mercer, chief public defender for the forensic’s division of the ... [More]

Brazilian Congress Approves Controversial Database Bill-Civil Society Groups Appeal to the Brazillian President to Reject

by jeeg 4. May 2012 20:56
This week the Brazilian Congress approved Bill 2.458/2011, which regulates the collection and storage of genetic profiles from individuals for criminal investigations. It was an uncommonly fast approval of the Bill – it took only seven months in each House. Due to the risks of the Bill for the privacy of innocent people and to the protection of other human rights, the Center for Technology and Society and GeneWatch UK, addressed the following Open Letter to the Brazilian President and to t... [More]
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