IEEE S&P Upcoming Issue on Genome Privacy and Security


This special issue will present the views of computer scientists, medical doctors, legal scholars, and ethicists on a topic of tremendous relevance for mankind.

Abstracts due: 1 November 2016
Submissions due: 1 January 2017
Publication date: September/October 2017
Author guidelines:

Over the past several decades, genome sequencing technologies have evolved from slow, expensive systems accessibly only to a select few scientists and forensic investigators to high-throughput, relatively low-cost tools available to consumers. A consequence of such technical progress is that genomics has become one of the next major challenges for privacy and security because

  • deterministic genetic diseases can be unveiled;
  • the propensity to develop specific diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, can be revealed;
  • individuals who decide to make their genomic code public can leak substantial information about ethnic heritage and relatives’ genomic data (possibly without their knowledge); and
  • complex privacy issues can arise if DNA analysis is used for law enforcement and biomedical research purposes.

Moreover, genomics is just one step toward precision medicine. The security and privacy standards that we define for genomics will likely determine those of future areas such as transcriptomics and full-body MRI, including high-quality brain imaging.

As genomics becomes increasingly integrated into healthcare and direct-to-consumer recreational services (such as ancestry testing), DNA data leakage is a serious risk for both individuals and their relatives. Failure to adequately protect such information could lead to societal and regulatory backlashes, impeding large-scale genomic research projects. This concern prompts the need for research and innovation in all genome privacy and security aspects, as suggested by the topic list below.

For more information on the topic, visit

Suggested Topics

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to

  • privacy-preserving analysis of and computation on genomic data,
  • security and privacy metrics for genomic data leakage,
  • cross-layer attacks to genome privacy,
  • access control for genomic data,
  • differentiated access rights for medical professionals,
  • quantification of genome privacy,
  • deanonymization attacks against genomic databases,
  • efficient cryptographic techniques for enhancing the security and privacy of genomic data,
  • privacy-enhancing technologies for genomic data,
  • implications of synthetic DNA for privacy,
  • applications of differential privacy to the protection of genomic data,
  • storage and long-term safety of genomic data,
  • secure sharing of genomic data between different entities (multisite analysis),
  • trust in genomic research and applications,
  • social and economic issues for genome privacy and security,
  • ethical and legal issues in genomics,
  • studies of policy efforts in genomics,
  • user studies and perceptions of genomics,
  • social and economic issues for genome privacy,
  • studies of issues and challenges with informed consent,
  • privacy issues in transcriptomics and proteomics,
  • economic aspects of genome data protection, and
  • genomic data and Safe Harbor.

Submission Guidelines

Submissions will be subject to the IEEE Computer Society’s peer-review process, and if accepted, to the Computer Society editing process. Articles should be at most 6,000 words, with a maximum of 15 references, and should be understandable to a broad audience of people interested in security, privacy, and dependability. The writing style should be down-to-earth, practical, and original. Authors should not assume that the audience will have specialized experience in a particular subfield. A staff editor will edit all accepted articles according to the IEEE Computer Society style guide. Submit your papers to Scholar One at


Contact the guest editors:

Jean-Pierre Hubaux, EPFL,
Stefan Katzenbeisser, Techniche Universität Darmstadt,
Bradley Malin, Vanderbilt University,