Privacy Blog

“By continuing the process of inflation, governments can confiscate secretly and unobserved an important part of the wealth of their citizens.” – John Maynard Keynes, writing about the effects of a seemingly small amount of inflation every year.

DNA

GEDmatch Implements Required Opt-In for Law Enforcement Matching and Privacy Issues

GEDmatch is an open data personal genomics database and genealogy website founded in 2010 by Curtis Rogers and John Olson. Its main purpose is to help “amateur and professional researchers and genealogists,” including adoptees searching for birth parents. However, it recently has also become “the de facto DNA and genealogy database for all of law enforcement,” according to The Atlantic’s Sarah Zhang. GEDmatch recently gained a lot of publicity after […]

Continue Reading →

Ancestry.com Sued for ‘Misleading’ Customers About DNA Data

Genealogy information provider Ancestry.com has a “longstanding practice” of failing to get sufficient informed consent agreements from customers who submit medical and DNA information, a new lawsuit alleges. Lori Collett sued the Utah-based company’s subsidiaries—Ancestry.com DNA LLC and Ancestry.com Inc.—for allegedly “misleading and deceiving patients in California and across the country about what Ancestry was actually doing with their DNA.” Bloomberg news has a brief radio report about the lawsuit […]

Continue Reading →

Should Genealogy Websites be BANNED because they ‘Threaten the Anonymity of Sperm Donors?’

The world today is struggling with learning to use advancing technology and also with all sorts of issues dealing with personal privacy. Sometimes those new ideas are diametrically opposed. For instance, which is more important: the right to learn about your ancestry, especially when inherited medical issues are involved, or the right to personal privacy? <img class=”alignright size-full” src=”https://eogn.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/dna-behind-bars.png&#8221; width=”320″ height=”203″ />A bioethics expert at Ghent University in Belgium claims […]

Continue Reading →

Researchers Want to Link Your Genes to Your Income but Should They?

The UK Biobank is the single largest public genetic repository in the world, with samples of the genetic blueprints of half a million Brits standing by for scientific study. But when David Hill, a statistical geneticist at the University of Edinburgh, went poring through that data, he wasn’t looking for a cure for cancer or deeper insights into the biology of aging. Nothing like that. He was trying to figure […]

Continue Reading →

National Data Privacy Day is January 28

Congress first recognized this day in 2009 to raise awareness about the importance of protecting one’s personal data on the internet. Christi Guerrini J.D., M.P.H., assistant professor with the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy at Baylor College of Medicine has written an article calling attention to privacy implications of sharing DNA information. Quoting from the article at http://bit.ly/2RR1rVo: “… thanks especially to last year’s Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal, it’s […]

Continue Reading →

One Company Offers To Sequence Your Genome Free Of Charge, Then Let You Profit From It

“Everything is private information, stored on your computer or a computer you designate,” says George Church, genetics professor at Harvard Medical School, about the approach of Nebula Genomics. The blockchain was invented in 2008 for the purpose of tracking the exchange of Bitcoins in a manner that cannot be hacked. So far, the blockchain has proven to be the most secure computer method available for tracking information about all sorts […]

Continue Reading →

Someone Else’s DNA Can be Used to Identify You

More than 60 percent of Americans who have some European ancestry can be identified using DNA databases — even if they have not submitted their own DNA, researchers reported Thursday. Enough people have done some kind of DNA test to make it possible to match much of the population, the researchers said. So even if you don’t submit your own DNA, if a cousin does, it could lead people to […]

Continue Reading →