This is an edited excerpt.
In 2006, the Personal Genome Project (PGP) was launched to collect genomic information from 100,000 informed members of the public along with their health records and other relevant phenotypic data. The idea: Use this information to help tease apart the relative contributions of genetic and environmental factors.
The project does not guarantee privacy for those who sign up. Indeed, the participants can reveal as much information as they like, including their ZIP code, birth date and sex. However, the data is ‘de-identified’ in the sense that the owners names and addresses are not included in their profiles on the PGP website and this generates a veneer of privacy.
Latanya Sweeney and colleagues at Harvard now show that even this is practically useless in keeping owners identities private.
View the original article here: Participants in Personal Genome Project Identified by Privacy Experts