Paper 2021/1108

Preservation of DNA Privacy During the Large Scale Detection of COVID

Marcel Hollenstein, David Naccache, Peter B. Roenne, Peter Y A Ryan, Robert Weil, and Ofer Yifrach-Stav


As humanity struggles to contain the global COVID pandemic, privacy concerns are emerging regarding confinement, tracing and testing. The scientific debate concerning privacy of the COVID tracing efforts has been intense, especially focusing on the choice between centralised and decentralised tracing apps. The privacy concerns regarding COVID \underline{testing}, however, have not received as much attention even though the privacy at stake is arguably even higher. COVID tests require the collection of samples. Those samples possibly contain viral material but inevitably also human DNA. Patient DNA is not necessary for the test but it is technically impossible to avoid collecting it. The unlawful preservation, or misuse, of such samples at a massive scale may hence disclose patient DNA information with far-reaching privacy consequences. Inspired by the cryptographic concept of ``Indistinguishability under Chosen Plaintext Attack'', this paper poses the blueprint of novel types of tests allowing to detect viral presence without leaving persisting traces of the patient's DNA.

Available format(s)
Publication info
Published elsewhere. arXiv:2007.09085
COVIDattack modelsdistinguishability
Contact author(s)
david naccache @ ens fr
2021-08-31: received
Short URL
Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Marcel Hollenstein and David Naccache and Peter B.  Roenne and Peter Y A Ryan and Robert Weil and Ofer Yifrach-Stav},
      title = {Preservation of DNA Privacy During the Large Scale Detection of COVID},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2021/1108},
      year = {2021},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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