Pinker on Personal Genomics

As some folks know, I’ve spent the majority of my time over the last 1.5 year as a member of the Faculty at Harvard Medical School in the Informatics group, thinking about security and privacy of web platforms for managing personal health data, including genomic data. I’ve had trouble blogging about it, because I’m still learning quite a bit and it’s difficult to know where to start. But now I don’t have to do an introductory post, because Steven Pinker did it already in the NY Times, much more beautifully and informatively than I could ever have done. If you’re … Continue reading Pinker on Personal Genomics

Privacy Advocacy Stunts

Deborah Peel, a well-known patient privacy advocate, and EPIC have joined forces to ask Google some questions about Google Flu Trends. Google is analyzing its search logs to detect flu outbreaks by region, which is super nifty. Peel and EPIC ask: There are, however, privacy concerns surrounding this new tool. […] In the aggregate, the data reveals useful trends and should be available for appropriate uses. But if disclosed and linked to a particular user, there could be adverse consequences for education, employment, insurance, and even travel. The disclosure of such information could also have a chilling effect on Internet … Continue reading Privacy Advocacy Stunts

Genomic Records & Voting

So part of my research is on voting. And another part is on the privacy of genomic medical records (which, admittedly, I haven’t spoken about much on this blog yet). It’s not often that I find an article that combines both. But I guess it was inevitable: In the coming era of personal genomics — when we all can decode our genes cheaply and easily — political candidates may be pressed to disclose their own DNA, like tax returns or lists of campaign contributors, as voters seek new ways to weigh a leader’s medical and mental fitness for public office. … Continue reading Genomic Records & Voting

An Inconvenient Truth about the Left

For the last few years, Bush and others within the Republican Party have ignored and distorted scientific evidence because the evidence didn’t match their ideology. The latest example this weekend is the administration’s attitude on the Endangered Species Act, but of course the most glaring example is the pseudo-controversy they fan regarding global warming. I’ve said before, however, that having folks on the Left complain about the Bush administration is hardly a recipe for positive change. To achieve positive change, you have to be willing to criticize your own. So this is a (harsh) criticism of some folks on the … Continue reading An Inconvenient Truth about the Left

Health Records and Me

This summer, I joined the faculty at Children’s Hospital Informatics Program. My work is focused on security and privacy of health data. One of the projects I’m contributing to was just announced in the press: Dossia was established by major U.S. employers Applied Materials, BP America Inc., Cardinal Health, Intel Corporation, Pitney Bowes Inc. and Wal-Mart to create a Web-based system that will enable employees to gain access to their own personal health data, which is now largely inaccessible to them. Dossia will use a Web-based infrastructure to empower individuals to manage their own health care, improve communications with their … Continue reading Health Records and Me