23andMe, a company that sells individuals information about their own genetic data, has just sold access to some of this data to Genentech. Genentech is using the data to do research about Parkinson’s. But it seems an easy jump to imagine that it’s being used by an insurance company.
And so I want to know: How was it aggregated? Is it anonymized in some way? How? Is it possible to determine someone’s race or gender from the given information (directly or indirectly)? What other information about their health is included (23andMe has customers fill out extensive surveys)?
If it’s possible to use genetic data to make decisions about people (e.g., insurance), then it’s possible to discriminate against people based on their immutable genetic information.