Can you really anonymize the donors of genomic data in today’s digital world?
The rapid progress in genome sequencing technologies leads to availability of high amounts of genomic data. Accelerating the pace of biomedical breakthroughs and discoveries necessitates not only collecting millions of genetic samples but also granting open access to genetic databases. However, one growing concern is the ability to protect the privacy of sensitive information and its owner. In this work, we survey a wide spectrum of cross-layer privacy breaching strategies to human genomic data (using both public genomic databases and other public non-genomic data). We outline the principles and outcomes of each technique, and assess its technological complexity and maturation. We then review potential privacy-preserving countermeasure mechanisms for each threat. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016.