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posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday September 06 2017, @02:22AM   Printer-friendly
from the we-know-what-you-look-like dept.

Anonymity continues to die a little every day:

The physical traits predicted from genome sequence data may be sufficient to identify anonymous individuals in the absence of other information, according to a study set to appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week.

After looking for links between physical phenotypes and whole-genome sequence data for more than 1,000 individuals from a range of ancestral groups, researchers from the US and Singapore took a crack at predicting biometric traits based on genetic data with the help of a newly developed algorithm. In a group of de-identified individuals, they reported, the algorithm made it possible to identify a significant proportion of individuals based on predictions of three-dimensional facial structure, ethnicity, height, weight, and other traits.

"By associating de-identified genomic data with phenotypic measurements of the contributor, this work challenges current conceptions of genomic privacy," senior author Craig Venter, of Human Longevity and the J. Craig Venter Institute, and his co-authors wrote. "It has significant ethical and legal implications on personal privacy, the adequacy of informed consent, the viability and value of de-identification of data, the potential for police profiling, and more."

[...] [Genome] sequences [...] are not currently protected as identifying data under the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act's Safe Harbor method for ensuring anonymous and de-identified patient information.

Also at Bio-IT World, PRNewswire, and San Diego Union Tribune.

Previously: Creating Wanted Posters from DNA Samples

Related: EFF to Supreme Court: The Fourth Amendment Covers DNA Collection
Kuwait Creating Mandatory DNA Database of All Citizens, Residents--and Visitors
Massive DNA Collection Campaign in Xinjiang, China
Routine Whole Genome Sequencing: Not Scary?


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  • (Score: 2) by looorg on Wednesday September 06 2017, @02:48AM (1 child)

    by looorg (578) on Wednesday September 06 2017, @02:48AM (#564019)

    This could be interesting, and scarey. I wonder if they can eventually do the reverse, show and image and the dna-code to produce the person on the image will be available; or at least the empty shell of a body.

    I recon there will be law enforcement aspects of this, there are probably some people already salivating at the mouth. Find something to extract DNA from and get an image of everyone that was at the scene (or everyone that had DNA planted at the scene). Wouldn't it just be easier to get a sample from everybody and just sequence that and then search that if you now have DNA and you want to find the person that it belongs to. After all I'm guessing the images produced will be lacking certain information, sure we can age images etc but what if say I have some cosmetic surgery or a giant hideous scar etc; those things won't show up in my DNA. So the images could be all wrong.
     

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 06 2017, @06:30AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 06 2017, @06:30AM (#564061)

    Get imprisoned for a crime, arrested in a protest, detained on the sidewalk or pulled over for a traffic infraction? You have to give us your DNA. It will let us boost the murder solve rate by 5%. We are doing this for your own good, citizen. We just want to keep you safe and sound.