I published an article 2 days ago (at https://bit.ly/31Im9sL) containing an announcement that Ancestry.com and all its subsidiaries are to be sold to the Blackstone Group Inc. for $4.7 billion (US) including debt. The announcement was brief and contained very few details.
As you might expect, the announcement has generated a lot of questions amongst genealogists asking questions about the future of the company and how the services might change. Many of those questions concern the privacy of DNA information presently held by Ancestry.com.
An article this morning by Kevin Truong in the Vice.com web site answered a few questions concerning the company’s DNA business. He writes:
“Ancestry is known for its genealogy and home DNA testing services. According to its website, the company has 3 million paying subscribers, 27 billion records, and 100 million family trees. The website also says that over 18 million people have been DNA tested through the company.
“’To be crystal clear, Blackstone will not have access to user data and we are deeply committed to ensuring strong consumer privacy protections at the company,’ a spokesperson for Blackstone told Motherboard in an email. ‘We will not be sharing user DNA and family tree records with our portfolio companies.’
“A spokesperson from Ancestry also said the company’s relationship with its users would remain the same.
“’Ancestry’s terms and conditions and privacy statement that is in effect for our users remains the same and Ancestry’s commitments to protect our customers’ personal data has not changed,’ the spokesperson said.”
The full article at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/akzyq5/private-equity-firm-blackstone-bought-ancestry-dna-company-for-billions goes on for much longer. However, I found it interesting the final paragraph provides interesting advice for genealogists and others:
“Ultimately, the multi-billion dollar trading of Ancestry between investment companies is another reminder that when you hand over your DNA, you never know who might eventually own it. “