World Privacy Forum urges more clarification and privacy protection regarding “incidental collection” of genetic information in GINA

GINA – Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act — In comments regarding the recently passed GINA (Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act), the World Privacy Forum said that some aspects of GINA need clarification to enhance privacy. The comments focus on a number of privacy issues the RFI raised, including model privacy notices and the issue of what the GINA statute calls “incidental collection” of genetic information. Currently, GINA states that some kinds of information are exempted from being considered as regulated for medical underwriting purposes. For example, medical information gleaned about patients for underwriting purposes from medical databases is regulated. But medical information gleaned about patients for underwriting purposes from, for example, marketing lists containing robust patient information may be unregulated if the law is not clarified in the regulatory process. The World Privacy Forum urged HHS and the Department of Labor to substantially clarify what constitutes “incidental collection,” and urged the agencies to consider lists containing identifiable patient information to be considered in the same category as a “medical database.”