Tuesday

California Wants Your Blood - Or Your DNA, Anyway

Under a Newborn Screening Program, the State of California has a sample of DNA from every baby born in a CA hospital since 1983. A heel prick sample of blood obtained from newborns is used to screen for congenital disorders, which most would likely think of as A Good Thing.

However, the sample is not discarded, it is stored...
It’s a treasure trove of information about you, from the color of your eyes and hair to your pre-disposition to diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer. Using these newborn blood spots for research, the state is able to screen babies for 80 hereditary diseases. But the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is not the only agency using the blood spots. Law enforcement can request them. Private companies can buy them to do research – without your consent.
As often seems to be the case with government and corporate programs, an ostensibly useful and compassionate process also ends up being used for more questionable purposes, with any privacy issues apparently being a secondary consideration.

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