Pressure is growing on direct-to-consumer genealogy and genetic testing companies to be more transparent about their privacy policies, after the arrest of the notorious Golden State Killer using publicly available data from one of the websites.
In a letter sent this week — and shared with STAT — Reps. Dave Loebsack of Iowa and Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey peppered four of the platforms with questions about their security systems and customer privacy. The Democratic lawmakers are hoping to work with the companies — 23andMe, AncestryDNA, Family Tree DNA, and National Geographic Geno — to identify and resolve any privacy and security issues. And they’re in a prime position to do so: They sit on the Energy and Commerce committee, which handles both health care and privacy issues in technology.
“Much more often than not, Congress acts after the horse is out of the barn,” Loebsack said. “I want to try to partner with genetic testing services to address any potential challenges before there are actually breaches of trust.”