Ethics and Information Technology

, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 257-263

First online:

Using genetic information while protecting the privacy of the soul

  • James H. MoorAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, Dartmouth College

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Computing plays an important role in genetics (and vice versa).Theoretically, computing provides a conceptual model for thefunction and malfunction of our genetic machinery. Practically,contemporary computers and robots equipped with advancedalgorithms make the revelation of the complete human genomeimminent – computers are about to reveal our genetic soulsfor the first time. Ethically, computers help protect privacyby restricting access in sophisticated ways to genetic information.But the inexorable fact that computers will increasingly collect,analyze, and disseminate abundant amounts of genetic informationmade available through the genetic revolution, not to mentionthat inexpensive computing devices will make genetic informationgathering easier, underscores the need for strong and immediateprivacy legislation.