NewsThe End of Privacy

Trust me, I'm a medical researcher

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Science  30 Jan 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6221, pp. 501-503
DOI: 10.1126/science.347.6221.501

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Summary

It's becoming more and more difficult to safeguard the privacy of patients who participate in scientific studies. Many patient samples today are banked, sequenced, and shared with potentially thousands of researchers, and it's widely accepted that if you can read someone's DNA, you may be able to figure out who they are. That's why researchers are seeking new ways of gaining patients' trust and keeping them involved—for instance by giving them more control over how their samples are used or being more transparent about the studies that their data are used in. Some are looking at popular websites like Uber and Airbnb as they develop new ways of building trust between patients and researchers.