Table of Contents
- Privacy Law for Genetic Testing
- Issues with Genetic Privacy
- Confidentiality Issues with Genetic Testing
- Federal Laws on Genetic Privacy
Genetic testing is becoming increasingly commonplace in the modern world. It allows doctors to identify diseases and mutations that may be present in an individual. It can provide insights into an individual’s ancestry and can even be used to predict the likelihood of developing certain illnesses in the future. However, genetic testing also raises important legal questions about privacy. In this article, we will discuss the legal issues surrounding genetic testing and privacy.
Privacy Law for Genetic Testing
The privacy law for genetic testing is largely dictated by the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA). This law prevents employers and health insurance companies from discriminating against individuals based on the results of genetic tests. In other words, they cannot use the results of a genetic test to make decisions regarding hiring or health insurance coverage. Additionally, the law prevents employers and insurance companies from collecting and using genetic information without the individual’s consent.
Issues with Genetic Privacy
One of the major issues with genetic privacy is that genetic information is often stored in databases that are accessible to a wide variety of people. This means that individuals’ genetic information can be accessed by anyone with access to a given database. Additionally, genetic information can be used for purposes that were not intended when it was collected. For example, genetic information could be used to track individuals’ ancestry or make predictions about their future health.
Confidentiality Issues with Genetic Testing
The confidentiality of genetic information is also a major concern. The results of genetic tests are often stored in databases that are accessible to a wide variety of people, as previously mentioned. This means that individuals’ genetic information can be accessed by anyone with access to a given database. Additionally, it is often difficult to ensure that the results of genetic tests are kept confidential. Individuals may not be aware that their information is being shared or that it is being used for purposes other than those intended.
Federal Laws on Genetic Privacy
In addition to GINA, several other laws also provide protections for individuals with regard to genetic privacy. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) requires health care providers and health plans to keep individuals’ health information confidential. The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) protects students’ educational records from unauthorized disclosure. And the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) prohibits employers and health insurers from discriminating against individuals based on their genetic information.
Overall, there are numerous legal issues surrounding genetic testing and privacy. It is important for individuals to understand their rights and for employers, health care providers, and health insurance companies to understand the laws that protect individuals’ genetic information. By understanding and following the laws that are in place, individuals can be better assured that their genetic information will remain confidential.