In this article we'll show you a glimpse of what we think you will need to consider in the near future. “Soon enough” refers to 'interesting items' we pick up from the news that might show a trend or direction where we’re heading. In this week’s episode of “Soon enough” we are giving you an example of the use of sensitive personal data, online, in the context of login into a website or app.
You probably heard of the company 23andMe. If not, they offer DNA synthesis and insight into your own DNA and conduct research on the DNA of people who have opted in to further insights. The results give their customers more insight in their genetic characteristics related to their traits and medicine responses. Last week the code dubbed 'Genetic Access Control' was posted to Github. Shortly after that, the access to the 23andMe API was denied.
What had happened was that a programmer of 'Genetic Access Control' had used 23andMes' open API to create an ethnic screening mechanism for websites. This effectively denies people’s access to the site or app by race, gender or ancestry. Pretty freaky, right?
With a simple login, which is requested on many websites nowadays (something that doesn’t surprise us anymore), the genetic information of 23andMe users could be scanned. Although people have to allow the access to their genetic information by third parties, this data should not be misused as an integration tool in entering an app or website, or should it?
We are hopeful that the internet is non-discriminating, and that anyone can get access anything regardless of their heritage. Having said that and digging back in time: Facebook was once a service that did just that, discriminate based on a social class. You could only use Facebook if you studied at one of the Ivy League Universities in the United States. You could also 'just' say this is demarcating, or better said, excluding people who are not qualified.
In a different light, maybe it can be used for the 'good'. What if the 'perfect match' in dating could be screened based on your DNA?