- Genetics testing companies, like Veritas Genetics, Ancestry and 23andMe, are providing consumers with an unprecedented level of access to their personal genome.
- Privacy risks are not well understood by consumers.
- Law enforcement and the federal government can pressure these companies to share your DNA.
The business of personal genetic-testing kits is booming, with consumers able to learn about their ancestry and health risks at the cost of just $99 to a few hundred dollars. Should you be afraid?
Some individuals worry they will discover things about their DNA that will be frightening — namely, the risks they run of contracting various diseases — and not know how to move forward with the information. Professional scientific skeptics contend the information may not even be as accurate as claimed, and lead people to make questionable health decisions. But there’s another type of risk that consumers aren’t focusing on as much, and it’s a big one: privacy. There is nothing more private than your personal genetic information, and sending away for a personal genome kit means sharing your DNA with the testing companies. What do they do with it, beyond providing consumers with genetic and health assessments?