A few years after the peak of direct-to-consumer (DTC) take-at-home DNA kits, skepticism is rising on the security and protection of acquired DNA. These concerns were promoted on an episode of “60 Minutes” that aired on January 31, 2021.
When a consumer uses a DTC DNA kit, like those sold by Ancestry.com or 23andMe, they sign a user-privacy agreement which gives these companies freedom to use their customers’ DNA for alternative purposes.
As the University of California, Davis law professor Lisa Ikemoto puts it, “You’re allowing your personal information to be used by others,” Ikemoto said. “That information’s being transferred to third parties. And it’s being used for uses that you never imagined.”
Tiffany Li, a Boston University law professor explains the problem with Terms of Service agreements is that they are so long, many customers don’t read them. However, by signing away your rights to your own DNA, you’re helping DTC make money with your data.
Because there are very few regulations regarding DNA privacy and protection, DTC companies are able to make money first off your purchase of their take-at-home kit, and again by selling your genetic information to other companies.
To make matters worse, by giving your DNA to a DTC company, you’re not only giving away your personal genetic privacy but that of your family, as well.
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