Although genetic profiling has its origins in the healthcare establishment, other establishments are warming up to the benefits of genetic profiling, for instance, education and insurance. This interest has stirred up a debate as insurance laws for example, do permit the use of medical data, which could be interpreted as genetic data for underwriting. This has led to concerns among the general public and other organisation of the use and development of genetic profiling by organisations that do not understand the concept of informed consent, and the issues surrounding the use and retention of very personal information. This paper will argue both sides of the argument, as there is a case for and against genetic profiling in each case study, however it soon becomes apparent that the same issues keep arising - namely, discrimination and informed consent. What this means for data privacy and protection is that more clarity is required, as well as a structured approach to amending the current legislation, and it also means that non-medical organisations interested in genetic profiling, may need to provide the solutions to the issues raised in the argument.
Data privacy and protection started becoming an issue, after the dawn of the information age. It was now very easy and simple to transfer personal data and information, without going through all the mandatory security checks. The digital age also brought with it the realities of digital crime. Privacy can be defined as "the interest that individuals have in sustaining a 'personal space', free from interference by other people and organisations (Clarke)." For example, banks operate privacy conditions, where it is not possible to access another individual's bank account as this infringes on their personal space and confidentiality. The medical establishment also practices privacy in the form of confidentiality, where a doctor cannot disclose any information to anyone else even if they are related to the patient. This disclosure is often left to the patient.
Privacy has several dimensions as knowledge of personal information can be classed under four different areas (Clarke). The first aspect is the personal privacy which is concerned with the individual's body and includes compulsory immunisation, blood transfusion, and compulsory provision of samples of body fluids and tissue and even compulsory sterilisation. This deals specifically with medical notes and medical history. The second aspect deals with the privacy of personal behaviour. This involves what are considered to be sensitive matters such as sexual preferences and habits, political activities and religious practices whether or not they occur in public places. This is particularly important as these matters can subject the individual to unnecessary discrimination and/or unprovoked attacks in the form of homophobic attacks or even intimidation. One example of this in the UK is with the animal testing laboratories, where those involved in animal testing are frequently targeted by groups opposed to testing animals. The third aspect deals with personal communications where the individual can claim the right to be able to communicate to others, using various media, without routine monitoring of their communications by other persons or organisations. This mainly applies to the wider aspect of