Seema Mohapatra

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Imagine applying for a job, and as part of your application process, your prospective employer asks for a photograph. You, as an eager candidate, comply with the request and, unbeknownst to you, the employer runs your picture through a software program that scans you for any common genetic diseases and that estimates your longevity. Alas, your face indicates that you may die young. No job for you. Although this sounds like science fiction, we may not be that far off from this scenario. In June 2014, scientists from Oxford reported that they have developed a facial recognition program that uses ordinary family photos to help diagnose rare genetic conditions. This article discusses the heightened need for privacy when dealing with genetic conditions, an individual’s right not to know about their genetic predispositions, and the current and proposed regulatory regimes for facial recognition technology. It also considers whether health-related legislation, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA), the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), or the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), provides adequate privacy protection from software that uses facial recognition to screen for diseases or health and concludes that they do not.