Friday, 04 March 2016 04:22

DNA Database Brings Medical ID Theft, Breach of Privacy Concerns

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The Obama Administration has proposed a "precision medicine initiative" that would apply $200 million dollars approved by Congress in 2015 to create a nationwide group of research participants under the National Institutes of Health. President Obama is hoping that the program will allow medical researchers to find cures for cancer and other serious diseases more quickly.

However, identity theft and privacy experts worry about the security of the DNA database. Some say it would be a major target for cybercriminals and that the federal government has not had a good track record in protecting sensitive data.

According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the sensitive personal data of up to 21.5 million government employees, both current and former, was stolen through two related attacks on its system in June 2016. Characterized as an "enormous breach" by James B. Comey, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported that his own personal information had been stolen.

The Obama Administration is encouraging the use of electronic medical records, which may be a boon to the health care industry, but represent a significant risk for identity theft and invasion of privacy.

The White House says it will work closely with security experts in the public and private sectors to ensure the highest level of protection for the health care data.

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"Obama’s DNA database raises fears of medical identity theft, breaches of privacy," Dave Boyer, The Washington Times

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