Ashford University Privacy of Genetic Information Case Study

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Topic 6: You are a commodity. A very (VERY) valuable commodity full of genetic data that companies want badly. Whether, we like it or not, our DNA contains hyperspecific personal information that entities like liability and advertising companies want so they can tailor insurance policies, craft targeted ads and even exclude people from certain coverage’s all in the name of making money.

It is well known that insurance companies would love to get their hands on your genetic data. Think about it. If a health insurance company knows that you will have a 95% chance of developing Alzheimer’s in your life time, don’t you think they will raise your premiums earlier in life or even preclude you from coverage? Is this fair? What if you don’t even develop the disease? Just food for thought.

Also, a new wave of crime fighting has taken shape. Law enforcement agencies across the nation are gaining access to your actual genetic code through companies like 23&Me, and the like. You send in your DNA to the companies for genealogy and they turn around and hand that exceptionally private information to another agency who may or may not have very good IT safe guards in place to protect your privacy. As in, you are completely exposed. 

I want you to think a minute about your genetic information as it relates to privacy and then answer the questions below. 

1. Should we be placing a higher priority on the privacy of our genetic information? 

2. Is it fair for companies to target people based on something they may or may not develop? 

3. Should law inforcement, through a third party, be allowed to obtain your genetic information involuntarily even if there is a warrant?

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