Reminds me of the “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree” metaphor from criminal law—which dictates that certain evidence and all evidence that flows from it—must be ignored if it was collected illegitimately. That case and this one shed some light a human aspect of information quality: That our civic institutions sometimes demand (legitimately, in my opinion) that high-quality data be ignored.
Dr. Arul Chinnaiyan stared at a printout of gene sequences from a man with cancer, a subject in one of his studies. There, along with the man’s cancer genes, was something unexpected — genes of the virus that causes AIDS.
It could have been a sign that the man was infected with H.I.V.; the only way to tell was further testing. But Dr. Chinnaiyan, who leads the Center for Translational Pathology at the University of Michigan, was not able to suggest that to the patient, who had donated his cells on the condition that he remain anonymous.