Sunday, November 17, 2019

Re-Identifiability of Proteomic Data and its Implications.... this is open access and it addresses one of the biggest (and scariest) elephants in the room. I hate to keep drawing attention to it, but with 40+ peer-reviewed studies on forensic proteomics in 2019 already, we need to start talking about this.

Anyone in the world can go to ProteomeXchange and download data from one of the repository partners like PRIDE or MASSIVE. If there is personally identifiable information in there, do we need to be thinking about this? Albert Heck, do we need to start having this conversation with the general scientific community and/or...yikes...government regulators...?

This thoughtful paper addresses these and (IMAHMFO) properly describes them as "dilemmas". 

With genetics we need to be extremely cautious with how the data is made anonymous -- and explicit disclosure agreements and fancy government forms for release of genetic data with descriptions of the potential consequences. I think I've been told that there are people at Hopkins who do this stuff as a job, informing patients of their rights when they're participating in big genetics studies.

If you could track single amino acid variants specific to people in things as benign as hair? It doesn't seem all that hard to imagine that you could definitely identify a person and stuff about them from a plasma proteome, right?  Maybe y'all on the biology side are already doing this stuff and I should just get out of the noisy room more? I hope so!

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