Does your private data really need to be that private?

When it comes to medical or genomics data, the public good outweighs the benefits of keeping information private, said two academics speaking at the Big Data Privacy Workshop at MIT on Monday.
“I think most people fear death or the death of a loved one more than a loss of privacy,” said John Guttag, professor at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL). In his view, patients or would-be patients would be well served to share their medical data — about hospital stays, treatments, procedures, etc. — in service of preventing things like the clostridium difficile (C. diff) infection.
Five percent of all U.S. patients suffer an infection unrelated to their admission and of those infections, C.diff is one of the most common, affecting 200,000 people per year, he said.

By Barb Darrow
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