Digging through myths and rumors around DNA privacy

Image credit: Nature

Every once in a while, untruths spread through the genetic genealogy world that have the potential to do great damage: damage to adoptees seeking their biological families, to genealogists hoping to tackle brick walls, and to a thriving new tech industry that enhances an established, traditional hobby.  So, every once in a while, we need to correct the record.

The issue I’m concerned about today is the compound myth that some of the DNA companies are selling our data without our consent; that we are contractually required give them free access to our data in order to test; and that our data is being uploaded to sites like GEDmatch, MyHeritage, and Family Tree DNA to re-identify us. None of those things is happening, and these false rumors need to be squelched whenever they appear.

Related article:  Genetic crystal ball? Forecasting 5 serious diseases with algorithm that checks 6.6 million DNA spots

FACT:  DNA Companies Are Not Selling Our Data Without Our Permission

None of the major testing companies—AncestryDNA23andMeMyHeritageFamily Tree DNA, or Living DNA—sell our data to third parties without our permission.

FACT:  Company Research Programs Are Optional

All five of the main testing companies occasionally conduct research studies, either in-house or using outside collaborators, based on the genetic data of their customers.  They only do so with the explicit, informed consent of each individual research participant, in line with universal research protocols for studies involving human subjects.

Read full, original post: Correcting the Record on Privacy

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend