We all read the news a few months ago when the Cambridge Analytica scandal exposed millions of users to malicious app developers on the Facebook platform.
It seems like we have started waking up to the reality that we may not own the data, pictures, contact lists when interacting with large social networks. The social networks are "free" however they use the data we (along with million of other people) to target ads. That is the business model, plain and simple.
Congress even took note of this and asked the CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg to testify regarding certain data policies and procedures. It seemed like the world was waking up to the importance of privacy and user data ownership until we started seeing the firestorm of DNA companies selling health data to large pharmaceutical companies. Many users began to revolt online.
Why do people care about their DNA?
There are many reasons for wanting to understand your DNA. Yes, of course, your ancestry and the map is pretty neat. But when we talk about health-based insights - it can uncover many important predispositions and help you make more informed lifestyle choices.
In a worst case scenario, it could be out of a bad sci fi movie where your DNA is sold and replicated into clones. Let's discard this far fetched idea and settle on the less worst case scenario ... pharmaceutical companies and other DNA companies are profiting from your health data.
We wonder, if the information is freely floating around these companies. Who has the power to look at this information? Why do some companies store your DNA sample for 10+ years?!
At Genome Buddy we have taken a stand, we encrypt all your information, only you have the private keys and your sample is destroyed after 90 days.
Collaborative Research Initiatives are Very Important
Without research humanity would not be able to advance as quickly. Innovations in the medical field are very important. At Genome Buddy, we believe collaborating with researchers is very important but the people need to consent and grant approval for their DNA samples to be used. We do not believe the current industry standard of hiding DNA ownership, rights and research use cases in the fine print of Terms and Conditions is the fair and right thing to do.
People's DNA must be safeguarded and protected from unauthorized use.
Genome Buddy is Designed for Privacy and Anonymity
With a team of 8 engineers working for 18 months we developed a new platform for secure health and wellness records. We developed a software solution from the ground up based on blockchain technology.
You probably have read about blockchain and bitcoin in the news. We developed our platform using many of the open source tools provided by Ethereum - a foundation that develops smart contracts. With smart contracts, you do not need to have a middle man, it can all be done with logic that is programmed.
The key takeaway is that this technology is distributed ledger that only the end user has the private keys to. If the user looses the private keys the ability to decrypt the information is lost forever. This is much safer than a "Forgot Email Password" or encryption keys stored by a company who provides the DNA testing.
In other words, Genome Buddy's technology puts you in control of the encryption and decryption of the data. The Genome Buddy platform also provides an elegant solution to provide anonymous health data if you do choose to share your DNA information with your family, doctor or researchers.
We want to thank you for taking the time to learn why we care so much about health data and privacy. We want to make sure people stay in control of their health data for centuries to come, while also doing good and helping researchers.
We hope you take the first step in empowering yourself and taking ownership of your DNA.