Genomic cloud computing: Legal and ethical points to consider

Edward S. Dove*, Yann Joly, Anne Marie Tassé, Bartha M. Knoppers, Anthony J. Brookes, Paul Burton, Rex Chisholm, Isabel Fortier, Pat Goodwin, Jennifer Harris, Kristian Hveem, Jane Kaye, Alistair Kent, Bartha Maria Knoppers, Klaus Lindpaintner, Julian Little, Peter Riegman, Samuli Ripatti, Ronald Stolk, Martin BobrowAnne Cambon-Thomsen, Lynn Dressler, Kazuto Kato, Laura Lyman Rodriguez, Treasa McPherson, Pilar Nicolás, Francis Ouellette, Carlos Romeo-Casabona, Rajiv Sarin, Susan Wallace, Georgia Wiesner, Julia Wilson, Nikolajs Zeps, Howard Simkevitz, Assunta De Rienzo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


The biggest challenge in twenty-first century data-intensive genomic science, is developing vast computer infrastructure and advanced software tools to perform comprehensive analyses of genomic data sets for biomedical research and clinical practice. Researchers are increasingly turning to cloud computing both as a solution to integrate data from genomics, systems biology and biomedical data mining and as an approach to analyze data to solve biomedical problems. Although cloud computing provides several benefits such as lower costs and greater efficiency, it also raises legal and ethical issues. In this article, we discuss three key 'points to consider' (data control; data security, confidentiality and transfer; and accountability) based on a preliminary review of several publicly available cloud service providers' Terms of Service. These 'points to consider' should be borne in mind by genomic research organizations when negotiating legal arrangements to store genomic data on a large commercial cloud service provider's servers. Diligent genomic cloud computing means leveraging security standards and evaluation processes as a means to protect data and entails many of the same good practices that researchers should always consider in securing their local infrastructure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1271-1278
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Human Genetics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 22 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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