Perspective | The privacy risks of at-home DNA tests

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But many people might not have a clear understanding of what happens to their personal genetic data after they mail a tube of spit to a private company for analysis. In a white paper published in July, Consumer Reports’ privacy experts argue that part of the reason for this uncertainty is a gap in the regulatory framework surrounding consumers’ genetic data privacy.Right now, companies write their own privacy policies that consumers agree to when they buy a test. But few laws regulate what companies must do to keep your data private and secure.“Ideally we’d like to see federal and state laws enacted that will empower consumers to control who has access to their genetic information,” says Justin Brookman, Consumer Reports’ director of privacy and technology policy.Gaps in the lawA few existing laws regulate some aspects of genetic privacy.The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) prevents employers from discriminating against you on the basis of your genetic information. But it doesn’t say anything about what a third-party DTC genetic testing company can do with the information it collects about you.Also, GINA’s protections apply only if a person is displaying no symptoms of their genetic …

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