Will Texans Own Their DNA?
Greg Abbott, candidate for Governor, thinks they should
On November 12th, Abbott released his “We the People Plan” for Texas. Clearly he’s heard from Texans who want tough new health data privacy protections.
Topping his list are four terrific privacy recommendations for health and genetic data:
- “Recognize a property right in one’s own DNA.”
- “Make state agencies, before selling database information, acquire the consent of any individual whose data is to be released.”
- “Prohibit data resale and anonymous purchasing by third parties.”
- “Prohibit the use of cross referencing techniques to identify individuals whose data is used as a larger set of information in an online data base.”
The Omnibus Privacy Rule operationalized the technology section of the stimulus bill. It also clarified that states can pass data privacy laws that are stronger than HIPAA (which is a very weak floor for data protections).
Texans would overwhelmingly support the new state data protection laws Abbott recommends . If elected, hopefully Abbott would also include strong penalties for violations. Contracts don’t enforce themselves. External auditing and proof of trustworthy practices should be required.
Is this the beginning of a national trend? I think so.
The more the public learns about today’s health IT systems, the more they will reject health surveillance technologies that steal and sell sensitive personal health data.