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The Ethics of ‘Biohacking’ and Digital Health Data: Brainstorm Health

June 6, 2019, 11:49 PM UTC

Good afternoon, readers.

The topic at hand? The ethics of “biohacking” and digital health data collection. So, you know, the lightweight stuff.

Luckily, panelists Richie Etwaru, CEO of, women’s health-focused digital health startup founder Alisa Vitti, and Johnson & Johnson executive (and self-professed futurist) Emmanuel Fombu brought the heat.

Our 45 minute conversation was entirely too short. But here’s just a sliver of the featured material…

Should personal health data ownership be a human right? Do digital health program participants deserve a cut of the profits from the information they provide to genomics companies? How do we get consumers to actually care about the privacy and ethics implications of this new digital health age? Can technology help (and, more importantly, should it have a responsibility to) bridge the persistent gap in representation for women in clinical trials? And how do you design a fair system of data distribution in an age of a la carte genomic editing, leveraged by large corporations, and seemingly ubiquitous data mining from consumers?

Ok, so we didn’t exactly come to definitive conclusions about all that in our limited time. But I look forward to sharing some of our panelists’ insights in the coming days. And I’ll note that, while some of the conversation may have sounded like dystopic cynicism, there was a general consensus that collective regulatory changes, new business models, and a culture of concern for data privacy could help realize the potential of digital health while mitigating its potential problems.

Back with more. Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee


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Produced by Sy Mukherjee
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