What No One Knows Cannot Hurt You: The Limits of Informed Consent in the Emerging World of Biobanking

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Abstract

In thinking about the ethics of biobanking many argue that the core protection of individual dignity and privacy is informed consent. But this doctrine will not and cannot be made to handle the ethical load it is being asked to bear in the realm of biobanking. It is time to shift ethical emphasis to general, broad consent to linked-anonymization through trusted third parties as the best way to ensure the ethical practice of biobanking.