Sending a sample of your DNA through the post may seem like a harmless and novel way of tracing your ancestry, and millions of Americans have already done so, but there is a more sinister side to this relatively new enterprise.
If you’re suspected of a crime police can, if they have a warrant, request access to your DNA profile from both the Ancestry and 23andMe websites. The latter has received five requests for customer information from law enforcement, although the company says it didn’t comply with any of these requests.
“As the 5 requests resulting in zero information provided indicates, we resist all of these requests. For perspective, 5 requests with over 3 million customers are 0.0002% worth of requests in 11 years. That’s less than rare,” 23andMe spokesman Andy Kill told RT.com.
Though the company hasn’t ruled out providing information to authorities in the future. “We would always review a request and take it on a case-by-case basis,” privacy officer Kate Black told WJAX on Thursday.
— RT (@RT_com) May 27, 2017
Ancestry.com, however, has complied with such requests. Of the nine made by authorities for customer info in 2016, the company provided information in eight of the cases, according to the company’s transparency report.
However, the company stressed to RT.com that these requests were not related to DNA profiles rather “they were all with regards to things like account data that could be useful in credit card fraud investigations.”
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