Learn how GA4GH helps expand responsible genomic data use to benefit human health.
Learn how GA4GH helps expand responsible genomic data use to benefit human health.
Our Strategic Road Map defines strategies, standards, and policy frameworks to support responsible global use of genomic and related health data.
Discover how a meeting of 50 leaders in genomics and medicine led to an alliance uniting more than 5,000 individuals and organisations to benefit human health.
GA4GH Inc. is a not-for-profit organisation that supports the global GA4GH community.
To guide our collaborative, globe-spanning alliance, GA4GH relies on a Standards Steering Committee and an Executive Committee.
The Funders Forum brings together organisations that offer both financial support and strategic guidance.
The EDI Advisory Group responds to issues raised in the GA4GH community, finding equitable, inclusive ways to build products that benefit diverse groups.
Distributed across four Host Institutions, our staff team supports the mission and operations of GA4GH.
Curious who we are? Meet the people and organisations across six continents who make up GA4GH.
More than 500 organisations connected to genomics — in healthcare, research, patient advocacy, industry, and beyond — have signed onto the mission and vision of GA4GH as Organisational Members.
These core Organisational Members are genomic data initiatives that have committed resources to guide GA4GH work and pilot our products.
This subset of Organisational Members whose networks or infrastructure align with GA4GH priorities has made a long-term commitment to engaging with our community.
Local and national organisations assign experts to spend at least 30% of their time building GA4GH products.
Anyone working in genomics and related fields is invited to participate in our inclusive community by creating and using new products.
Wondering what GA4GH does? Learn how we find and overcome challenges to expanding responsible genomic data use for the benefit of human health.
Study Groups define needs. Participants survey the landscape of the genomics and health community and determine whether GA4GH can help.
Work Streams create products. Community members join together to develop technical standards, policy frameworks, and policy tools that overcome hurdles to international genomic data use.
GIF solves problems. Organisations in the forum pilot GA4GH products in real-world situations. Along the way, they troubleshoot products, suggest updates, and flag additional needs.
NIF finds challenges and opportunities in genomics at a global scale. National programmes meet to share best practices, avoid incompatabilities, and help translate genomics into benefits for human health.
Communities of Interest find challenges and opportunities in areas such as rare disease, cancer, and infectious disease. Participants pinpoint real-world problems that would benefit from broad data use.
See all our products — always free and open-source. Do you work on cloud genomics, data discovery, user access, data security or regulatory policy and ethics? Need to represent genomic, phenotypic, or clinical data? We’ve got a solution for you.
All GA4GH standards, frameworks, and tools follow the Product Development and Approval Process before being officially adopted.
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17 Apr 2019
New GA4GH Data Security Work Stream Leads David Bernick and Jean-Pierre Hubaux aim to build on the progress that the work stream has done and tackle new challenges in genomic data privacy and security.
While the vast majority of our genetic code is shared between every individual on the planet, no two human genomes are exactly the same. Even identical twins demonstrate epigenomic and environmental discrepancies. As a result, our DNA is fundamentally an operator of personal identification, presenting entirely new challenges to the data security field.
Jean-Pierre Hubaux, a Full Professor at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and lead of the Data Protection in Personalized Health (DPPH) initiative in Switzerland, and David Bernick, Chief Information Security Officer at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard plan to address these challenges as they take on leadership of the GA4GH Data Security Work Stream. Bernick and Hubaux will replace Dixie Baker of Martin, Blanck and Associates and Paul Flicek of EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), who have led the GA4GH security strategy since the organization was founded in 2013.
Under Baker and Flicek’s leadership, the Work Stream has made significant contributions in guiding technology standards and best practices for protecting data and services, including the development of the first versions of the security technology infrastructure document, which suggests a set of security and architectural standards and guidelines for implementing and operating a trustworthy genomic data sharing ecosystem. A new version of this document is expected soon. Together with Hubaux, Baker has also co-led the annual Genome Privacy and Security (GenoPri) conference for the past two years, which is held in conjunction with the GA4GH Plenary Meeting.
Hubaux and Bernick aim to build upon the existing goals of the Work Stream, which aims to protect genomic and health-related data and ensure that the standards produced by the GA4GH Technical Work Streams are developed within a sound risk-management framework. The Leads also plan to further development of the GA4GH Breach Response protocol and Authentication and Authorization Infrastructure (AAI).
“We don’t want to just address today’s security needs but look at future security needs,” said Bernick. “The goal is to provide a framework so other [GA4GH] Work Streams can ‘self-service’ security and start their posture from a place of maintaining proper confidentiality without having to play catch-up after-the-fact.”
Hubaux adds that historically, there has been a gap between biomedicine and information security. With personalized health introducing an unparalleled level of identifiability, the practice arguably raises some of the most formidable privacy and security challenges to date. “Data protection in personalized health is a dramatically under-researched topic,” he said. “Hopefully, the activities of the [Data Security Work Stream] will encourage more researchers to address this challenge.”
Bernick and Hubaux hope to work closely with other GA4GH Work Streams, such as the Regulatory and Ethics and Cloud Work Streams, to help tackle these questions and define the overall GA4GH privacy and security doctrine. The Data Security Work Stream also plans to leverage existing technology such as conventional encryption, homomorphic encryption, secure multi-party computation, trusted execution environments, and differential privacy.
“But technology alone will not solve the problem,” said Hubaux. “The contribution of policy-makers, ethicists, and the whole medical sector is crucial for the success of this worthy endeavor. No less than the trustworthiness of modern medicine is at stake.”