Blockchains are now enabling customers to avail privacy-enhanced service offerings, starting with Nebula Genomics’ Anonymous Sequencing. As per a blog post, customers can submit their genome sample without any other personal information, September 19, 2019. Payments for the service are also excited using a pre-paid debit card or cryptocurrency.
Harmony in Technology and Science
People often called technology “applied science,” but it is easy – in this day and age – to forget about the linkages between the two.
Nebula Genomics is making huge strides in bringing scientific research to the masses while also enabling their privacy.
Customers can now sign up for Nebula anonymously, pay for their genome tests with cryptocurrency, and have it shipped to a PO box or any other semi anonymous location that doesn’t reveal a person’s exact identity.
Several vulnerabilities can be eliminated by brining a layer of privacy to this process. This also enables individuals to keep researchers from identifying a person based on their genes, especially when the data is shared with third party research companies.
In reality, genetic data cannot be completely anonymized as each individual has a distinctly unique structure.
Thus, the company realized data anonymization is not enough, and the process must be extended to record keeping, payments, and delivery.
The Intersection of Security and Biology
It has always been extremely fascinating to see how each individual’s unique biological structure can be used as a means of establishing their identity.
For example, using biometrics to establish identity is a unique security password that nobody can recreate. Of course, it can be stolen and misused, but nobody else in the world can naturally have the same fingerprint or retina structure as another.
Blockchains inherently promote transparency, and this is why it makes sense to disseminate and store data on them. While it does erode a degree of privacy, a pseudonymous identity structure, as seen in Bitcoin, can be introduced.
Many security experts advocate against biometrics because they can be easily recreated in an artificial manner. That being said, future trends are expected to converge toward a state where humans themselves become their passwords.