Can Your Personal DNA Code Be Sold To The Highest Bidder?

To many, personal genomics testing companies like 23andMe or Ancestry might seem like small miracles: an affordable, easy way to learn more about your heritage, discover family secrets, and annoy white supremacists (per PBS). When you dig a little deeper, though, there are at least a few complications. On the one hand, the results you’ll get back are little more than educated statistical guesses (at least, according to Scientific American); but even assuming most of the testing is reliable and most of the results are accurate, there are profound ethical questions inherent in the technology that society have yet to really grapple with.

In a sense we’ve been down this road before: Remember when social media and other internet services were new and we all signed up, cheerfully agreeing to the terms of service we didn’t read, only to discover a decade later that they had been mining far more of our data and selling it to far more entities than we ever could have imagined? In a sense, personal genomics is that all over again — except this time around, the data being collected, and potentially sold, is far more personal than your political views and where you eat for lunch. This is data literally coded into your body — and once you mail it in, it’s entirely out of your control.

We've already seen personal genomics data used in law enforcement

There has already been at least one high-profile case where personal genomics data was used to put someone behind bars. The Golden State Killer — whom we now know was one-time police officer Joseph James DeAngelo — spent much of the late 1970s and early 1980s committing as many as 50 rapes, 13 murders, and dozens of burglaries around California, but the case on him went cold in the early 2000s (per The Los Angeles Times). In 2018, however, the authorities managed to track DeAngelo down via evidence collected from personal genomics website GEDmatch. The data wasn’t even from DeAngelo himself; it was from a distant relative (via The Washington Post).

While it’s almost certain that no one regrets DeAngelo being caught and sentenced to life for his crimes, the case does illustrate just how much can be done with DNA data, and how, when you give yours away, you’re also giving away data on everyone related to you. And while all that info can be used for good — to catch criminals or develop miracle drugs, for instance — it’s not hard to imagine it being used for less-pure intentions as well.

How safe is your genomic data?

The safety of your genetic data often comes down to how carefully you read the fine print and check the boxes. While the major genomics testing companies — 23andMe, Ancestry, and MyHeritage — all boast that they don’t share data without the customer’s permission (which seems like the bare minimum, but we guess no one asked us), the word “permission” is doing an awful lot of work here, as the different companies may offer “opt-in” — meaning you have to check a box to give them permission to share your data —  or “opt-out” options that require deliberately unchecking a box. 

According to The New York Times, some 40% of personal genomics companies on the market have no written policy at all regarding what they will and will not do with genetic data — and the industry is very much still in its “Wild West” phase, with very little regulation or transparency, leading Senator Chuck Schumer to call for a full investigation by the Federal Trade Commission.

If you’ve already used one of these services and are concerned about your data, know that the “big three” do allow you to retroactively revoke your permission (full instructions for each here). As CNBC points out, though, even once you’ve revoked permission, it’s nearly impossible to verify your data has been deleted — or, for that matter, that your physical samples have been destroyed.

57 thoughts on “Can Your Personal DNA Code Be Sold To The Highest Bidder?

  1. Rtijqb says:

    order tricor online cheap fenofibrate 200mg us buy fenofibrate 200mg online

  2. Mafctr says:

    order zaditor 1mg generic tofranil 75mg usa order imipramine

  3. Yrriuq says:

    order minoxidil order mintop generic low cost ed pills

  4. Gwfxms says:

    where to buy precose without a prescription buy precose 25mg generic generic fulvicin

  5. Kzvuuq says:

    purchase aspirin without prescription levofloxacin 250mg tablet buy zovirax medication

  6. Mejplp says:

    melatonin 3mg cost buy desogestrel without prescription order danazol 100 mg generic

  7. Vbkhpr says:

    buy dipyridamole 100mg pill order felodipine 5mg sale order generic pravastatin 20mg

  8. Ktcvpj says:

    dydrogesterone 10 mg uk order sitagliptin 100 mg pills buy empagliflozin generic

  9. Pkodga says:

    order fludrocortisone 100 mcg pills rabeprazole price buy imodium 2 mg generic

  10. Vymdes says:

    monograph generic cilostazol 100mg uk buy pletal pills

  11. Fakoqk says:

    buy prasugrel 10mg pill buy detrol paypal buy tolterodine pills

  12. Bsnivi says:

    ferrous 100mg cheap sotalol 40mg uk sotalol for sale online

  13. Lwdwtg says:

    vasotec 10mg price doxazosin online buy buy duphalac sale

  14. Klzmmc says:

    purchase zovirax sale xeloda 500 mg us buy rivastigmine generic

  15. Xhwvbf says:

    betahistine 16mg canada betahistine without prescription buy benemid generic

  16. Mieynx says:

    premarin 600 mg tablet oral premarin 600 mg order viagra 100mg without prescription

  17. Upunps says:

    prilosec drug prilosec 10mg cost cheap metoprolol 100mg

  18. Cdiira says:

    telmisartan 20mg over the counter brand hydroxychloroquine 400mg order movfor without prescription

  19. Lmengo says:

    cenforce 50mg without prescription cenforce usa aralen 250mg oral

  20. Shlewz says:

    provigil 200mg price provigil price purchase prednisone sale

  21. Mtyorr says:

    astelin 10ml cheap zovirax 400mg usa buy avalide for sale

  22. Txcske says:

    nexium 20mg price oral nexium 40mg buy generic topiramate over the counter

  23. Ocqkmf says:

    oral sumatriptan 25mg levofloxacin 500mg cheap purchase avodart generic

  24. Dsrezw says:

    where to buy zyloprim without a prescription where can i buy allopurinol buy rosuvastatin 10mg generic

  25. Kvavrd says:

    buy zantac 300mg sale mobic online order celecoxib 200mg generic

  26. Wfpkdk says:

    oral buspin buspar tablet cordarone over the counter

  27. Fkhtfa says:

    buy flomax 0.2mg sale zofran 4mg pill purchase zocor without prescription

  28. Cdbods says:

    buy domperidone pill motilium canada tetracycline 500mg usa

  29. Kisjdk says:

    buy spironolactone 100mg online cheap valacyclovir 1000mg uk order finasteride 1mg pills

  30. Ifylfx says:

    write essays for me i need help with my essay paper writing online

  31. Tcpfre says:

    fluconazole pill buy fluconazole tablets ciprofloxacin 500mg usa

  32. Gabeug says:

    buy sildenafil 50mg buy sildalis without prescription estradiol 1mg cost

  33. Rfexym says:

    flagyl cheap flagyl 400mg usa cephalexin 500mg uk

  34. Oubbgw says:

    lamictal online buy mebendazole medication order vermox without prescription

  35. Dlezwf says:

    cleocin 300mg brand order erythromycin 500mg pill fildena 100mg us

  36. Kwhjiv says:

    order retin gel without prescription cost avana avana online

  37. Qnexxn says:

    order nolvadex 20mg generic order tamoxifen 10mg without prescription order budesonide online cheap

  38. Lppgjn says:

    order tadalafil 20mg for sale voltaren 50mg oral where can i buy indocin

  39. Rjuxcu says:

    cefuroxime order careprost cheap buy methocarbamol paypal

  40. Tqanrt says:

    order trazodone 100mg purchase suhagra generic clindamycin gel

  41. Nzyzqq says:

    lamisil 250mg over the counter buy terbinafine 250mg pills casino money

  42. Euosml says:

    purchase aspirin aspirin 75mg for sale planning poker online

  43. Lviemt says:

    buy a custom essay research proposal economics cefixime 200mg for sale

  44. Sdfvfh says:

    cheap research papers for sale real casino slot machine games sports gambling

  45. Tfbcyk says:

    order calcitriol 0.25mg pills buy fenofibrate 200mg without prescription buy fenofibrate sale

  46. Mdpmuq says:

    order trimox pill buy amoxicillin without a prescription purchase clarithromycin online

  47. Vvwhmq says:

    acne treatments for teen girls how to get trileptal without a prescription oxcarbazepine drug

  48. Xixvuu says:

    buy catapres 0.1 mg generic antivert 25mg uk oral tiotropium bromide 9 mcg

  49. Jlswdb says:

    buy uroxatral 10 mg sale cheap uroxatral 10 mg stomach acid medication generic names

  50. Qjydfl says:

    minocin price cost minocycline 50mg buy ropinirole 1mg generic

  51. Ihxvdl says:

    femara 2.5mg tablet buy femara 2.5mg without prescription aripiprazole brand

  52. Jjldgy says:

    order provera 5mg without prescription praziquantel 600 mg price purchase microzide sale

  53. Dvghpz says:

    cyproheptadine cheap order luvox 50mg generic buy generic ketoconazole

  54. Keuvym says:

    how to get rid of toenail fungus dr sebi cure for herpes pdf safest high blood pressure medication

  55. Ilchik says:

    gastric erosion treatment types of antiarrhythmic drugs online urgent care for uti

  56. Rbmxvf says:

    buy promethazine 25mg men’s ed pills stromectol uk buy

  57. Iibayp says:

    can you get contraceptive pill from pharmacy where can you buy estrogen premature ejaculation treatment online

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *