Feeds

Senate outlaws genetic discrimination

Gattaca UK

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

The US Senate has unanimously voted in favour of a bill to ban genetic discrimination by insurance companies and employers in a bid to speed up research on inherited diseases.

Senators backed the bill 95 to none in a ballot yesterday.

It's not the first time Congress has tried to ban DNA discrimination, and the bill still needs to be approved by the House of Representatives. Business lobbyists have warned that new laws could prompt a flood of lawsuits.

Veteran democrat Ted Kennedy, meanwhile, has described the legislation as "the first major new civil rights bill of the new century".

It's hoped that forbidding insurance companies to discriminate on genetic grounds will help foster greater participation in research. Campaigners for the laws argue that consumers fear their DNA being obtained by big business and used against them, which has hamstrung efforts to develop therapies for inherited diseases.

Dr Francis Collins of the National Institute of Health - the US equivalent of the Medical Research Council - welcomed the news, AP reports.

"A system that allows that information to be used to deny people health care or a job is a system that has lost its way," he said. "This is a civil rights issue and it's high time we took care of it."

Earlier efforts to bring in laws have been blocked by procedural difficulties in Congress and arguments over lawsuit fears in business. A deal struck last week saw the new bill amended to discourage too many claims. It makes it clear that insurance companies are still able to discriminate on the basis of the presence of disease, even if it is inherited.

Sponsors of the bill in the House of Representatives said they expect to win approval this time, as soon as possible.

The UK has no laws against genetic discrimination. Insurance companies have voluntarily signed a moratorium until 2011. More here, from Genewatch UK. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.