Data protection involves different elements of life. Some examples include credit cards, bank accounts, ID cards, passports, and social media accounts. Unfortunately, the last several years have revealed that many institutions simply don’t have the capability to protect our valuable information from nefarious agents.
While financial and identity information is very valuable, it does not even compare to the value of material inside all of us: our genomic data.
Genomic data needs to be safely guarded at all costs and fortunately, thanks to blockchain technology, a viable option now exists.
Privacy Concerns With Traditional Data Security:
Over the last several years, society has been bombarded with constant reports of data breaches. The most obvious example being Facebook.
Facebook has had a few embarrassing incidents during the past few years that include the following:
- Russian election meddling in 2016
- Cambridge Analytica data scandal
- Computer network attack in September exposed the personal data of roughly fifty million Facebook users
And while Facebook has shown a complete inability to protect customer data, they aren’t exactly alone.
Equifax, one of the three largest credit agencies in the United States, suffered a data breach in September 2017. The leaked data included highly sensitive info such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, driver’s license and passport numbers.
These sorts of data breaches are unfortunately becoming more and more common with each day. This puts consumers in a vulnerable position as the info that is being leaked is extremely personal and valuable. And while having to cancel and replace credit cards is a real hassle, what if exposed data couldn’t be replaced? That is the case with our genomic data.
All living things have DNA within their cells and contains all the necessary info needed to build and maintain an organism. There is nothing more valuable than this, and it requires the highest level of security.
FTC Investigating 23andMe and Ancestry:
23andMe and Ancestry are a few of the largest traditional companies involved in genomic sequencing and genealogy. These companies, founded over a decade ago, have grown to become prominent within the industry.
Although each co has done a superb job of providing people with invaluable access to important info such as where they come from, they are extremely poor in how they handle that highly sensitive information.
In the summer of last year, the FTC revealed that it was actively investigating 23andMe and Ancestry.com over their policies for handling personal info and genetic data, and how they share that info with third parties.
Given all the incidents with information not nearly as valuable as our genomic data, how can consumers trust any businesses to protect sensitive data? Well they definitely can, thanks to blockchain technology.
Blockchain technology is being used more and more to solve some of the most complex issues facing businesses. Even though the technology is relatively new, there are a few examples of blockchain technology making a positive impact.
Within the genomics space, there are several companies attempting to solve the complex problem of securing consumers’ genomic data.
The companies involved in this space include Encrypgen (DNA), Nebula Genomics, LunaDNA, Shivom (OMX), and Zenome (ZNA).
All these companies are working on unique solutions to the aforementioned problem. Late last year, Encrypgen launched the world’s first genomic data marketplace. Nebula, Luna, Shivom, and Zenome are currently working on an alpha version of their platforms.