Infoscience

Conference paper

Privacy and Security in the Genomic Era

With the help of rapidly developing technology, DNA sequencing is becoming less expensive. As a consequence, the research in genomics has gained speed in paving the way to personalized (genomic) medicine, and geneticists need large collections of human genomes to further increase this speed. Furthermore, individuals are using their genomes to learn about their (genetic) predispositions to diseases, their ancestries, and even their (genetic) compatibilities with potential partners. This trend has also caused the launch of health-related websites and online social networks (OSNs), in which individuals share their genomic data (e.g., Open-SNP or 23andMe). On the other hand, genomic data carries much sensitive information about its owner. By analyzing the DNA of an individual, it is now possible to learn about his disease predispositions (e.g., for Alzheimer's or Parkinson's), ancestries, and physical attributes. The threat to genomic privacy is magnified by the fact that a person's genome is correlated to his family members' genomes, thus leading to interdependent privacy risks. This short tutorial will help computer scientists better understand the privacy and security challenges in today's genomic era. We will first highlight the significance of genomic data and the threats for genomic privacy. Then, we will present the high level descriptions of the proposed solutions to protect the privacy of genomic data and we will discuss future research directions. No prerequisite knowledge on biology or genomics is required for the attendees of this proposal. We only require the attendees to have a slight background on cryptography and statistics.

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