Your section heading implies that Ancestry can use your genetic info against you when the fact is that it may be forced by a subpoena to divulge your info, in other words, respond to a court order.

If you want to tell people “Never get your DNA tested because someone may get access to it through a court order” fine, but you shouldn’t imply that Ancestry is going to use your DNA against you for its own purposes.

Everyone’s data is subject to disclose through court orders, including all your medical data. Just sue somebody for personal injury and find out that all your medical records are going to be obtained in the discovery process. Is your advice: “Don’t go to a doctor because then someone could get access to your medical records”?

Generally companies that collect information for statistical use scrub individual characteristics from the reports they create. I suspect that Ancestry’s privacy policy provides for this too. If so, Ancestry may well add your anonymized data to studies but in a way that cannot be traced back to a specific person.

If that’s the case then you should have stated that instead of claiming/implying that Ancestry is actually using each person’s identifiable data for its own purposes. I strongly suspect that such a claim is untrue.

When you get fire or car insurance the insurance company stores your home address, etc. in its files and that info can be obtained by court order. It probably also creates reports that its insureds have homes in this value distribution, this age distribution, etc. but that doesn’t mean it’s publishing the details on your home.

Are you going to tell people not to get fire insurance? Every company everyone deals with has some confidential information on them which information can be obtained by court order. Your attempt to make it appear that Ancestry is unique is less than honest.

I take your article as an attempt to frighten/concern people rather than to present a fair and unbiased report.

Graduate of Stanford University & U.C. Berkeley Law School. Author of 17 novels and over 200 Medium columns on Economics, Politics, Law, Humor & Satire.

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