Blackstone Inc. is purchasing Ancestry.com. (See my earlier articles at https://bit.ly/31Im9sL and at https://bit.ly/3gJN6lP for the details of the announcement.) 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 personal DNA information of customers as presently held by Ancestry.com.
Are there any issues of privacy or with the idea that the new web site owners might use your genealogy data or your DNA information for purposes you never envisioned when you contributed the information? The answers are mixed.
As I mentioned in my previous articles, Kevin Truong wrote, “’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.’”
In contrast, an article by James Gelinas in the komando.com web site at https://www.komando.com/security-privacy/remove-your-data-from-this-ancestry-site-now/748931/ warns, “Since genealogy websites collect so much data, their user database can be quite valuable in the corporate world. And that’s exactly what’s happening to Ancestry.com thanks to an acquisition by Blackstone — its new parent company. This means if you sent your DNA to Ancestry, Blackstone has it now. Here’s how you can remove it.”
That article at https://www.komando.com/security-privacy/remove-your-data-from-this-ancestry-site-now/748931/ then goes on to provide step-by-step instructions of how to remove your data from the web site.
COMMENT by Dick Eastman: Removing your data now from Ancestry.com strikes me as a useless procedure. The web site’s present owners undoubtedly have backup copies of everything entered previously and those copies are included in the sale of all the Ancestry.com assets to Blackstone Inc. Any attempt to remove data from the web site today will not remove anything from the backup copies.
Removing your data today from Ancestry.com is a case of “closing the barn door after the horse got out.”