There are few things more frustrating to genuine progress than when the cynics and nay-sayers are proven right.

If you’ve had multiple conversations with people about genetic test kits from 23andMe.com, Ancestry.com or the like, then I’m sure you’ve heard people be sceptical about why anyone would hand over their genetic material — and $100 fee — to a private company who will simply tell them what they already knew… you’re 12.5% Irish.

The objections I’ve heard range from being privacy related (the lack of governance in a private company you have no control over or visibility into) to being downright conspiratorial. …

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I hate being ripped off. It’s not actually the quantum of the over-charging or even the theft that bothers me. It’s the very fact that something that I was supposed to have control over was affected without my involvement or awareness. That applies to phone chargers stolen from your desk, hidden bank fees and charges that you discover only after you’ve paid for them, identity theft, and pretty much everything in between.

I’m not alone in this. We all have an innate sense of justice that we’re usually only aware of when we hear of injustice — when our internal justice-meter swings across to the “that ain’t right” part of the dial. …

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Clinical data has been used for decades, and we’ve all benefited from it. Data is plentiful, and data is powerful. That makes data plenty powerful — that’s great news. Having worked in data analytics for years, I can attest the general observation is that the more detail you have in the data, the more insight you could gain from it.

That’s all well and good, but the flip side of that coin is that when it comes to health data, individual people are involved. Thereby, detailed granular health data translates to very sensitive, very personal information about very real people. …

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