Sen. Schumer warns that companies providing at-home DNA tests can sell genetic info

At-home ancestry testing kits are popular presents this holiday season — but Sen. Charles Schumer cautioned Sunday that companies providing the service shouldn’t be able to gift genetic information to the highest bidder.

The terms of service for companies like MyHeritage and Ancestry allow them to sell customers’ genetic information to third parties, Schumer said.

Such loose user agreements raise the possibility of employers discriminating against new hires through DNA, or genetic information affecting one’s health insurance, he said.

“With great powers — looking into your genetics — comes great responsibility. For some of these companies there are no limits at all,” Schumer said.

MyHeritage said in a statement it has never sold or licensed DNA data to a third party and will only do so with a user’s “explicit informed consent.”

The company said it will also never sell DNA data to insurance companies.

Schumer called on the Federal Trade Commission to ensure privacy policies for DNA kits are clear and fair for consumers.

“I don’t think that this industry is nefarious, it is just that they are brand new and they need safeguards,” he said

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Ali Jamalian, whose life was disrupted in the wake of being charged with possession decades ago, now heads up Sunset Connect, a cannabis manufacturing company. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Green Rush: Cannabis equity program elevates unexpected entrepreneurs

‘It’s a form of reparations for those of us who were ruined by cannabis arrest’

The Giants and Dodgers face each other again following a May series the Dodgers swept; Dodgers shortstop Gavin Lux caught stealing by Giants second baseman Donovan Solano at Oracle Park on May 23 is pictured. 
Chris Victorio/
Special to The Examiner
Giants vs. Dodgers: What you need to know before this week’s huge series

By Chris Haft Special to The Examiner That grinding noise you’ll hear… Continue reading

San Francisco supervisors approved zoning changes that will allow a chain grocery store to occupy the bottom floor of the 555 Fulton St. condo building. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Trader Joe’s approved for Hayes Valley, bringing long-awaited grocery store

New Seasons Market canceled plans at 555 Fulton St. citing construction delays

Most Read