TheHill.com reports, “Genetic testing companies are forming a new coalition on best practices for handling DNA information and to promote the industry in Washington as lawmakers put more scrutiny on their privacy practices.” The new organization’s plan is to create reasonable voluntary guidelines for DNA privacy before lawmakers create their own less palatable laws that benefit no one.
As of January, more than 26 million consumers have added their DNA to the four leading commercial ancestry and health databases, believed to be Ancestry, 23andMe, MyHeritage, and Family Tree DNA, according to MIT Technology Review. However, the recent use by law enforcement use of the databases that is contrary to the stated purposes of these genealogy databases has created a lot of controversy.
Few people would ever object to identifying and apprehending violent criminals. However, the use of personally identifiable DNA information is a two-edge sword. Rogue law enforcement personnel, hackers, spies, and others also can use these DNA databases for illegal and unwanted purposes.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) called on the Federal Trade Commission in 2017 to ensure that the privacy policies of DNA test kits are transparent and fair to consumers.
“We don’t want to impede research, but we also don’t want to empower those looking to make a fast buck or an unfair judgment off your genetic information. We can find the right balance here, and we must,” Schumer said at the time.
You can read the full story in an article by Alex Gangitano at http://bit.ly/2X28l82.