ReadThisThing - December 13th, 2019

ReadThisThing (Dec 13th, 2019)

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You might be comfortable with all of this. You might not. You should definitely think about it because when the information is your own DNA, there really is no such thing as “de-identified” data.

That DNA profile is inextricably tied to your identity. It might be stripped of your name and decoupled from the credit card you used to pay for the test. But as 23andMe warns in its privacy policy: “In the event of a data breach it is possible that your data could be associated with your identity, which could be used against your interests.”

For Buzzfeed News, journalist Peter Aldhous reflects on the impact handing over our personal data to DNA testing companies as 23andMe has had. When 23andMe burst into the scene ten years ago, many thought such tests would shape the future of medicine. Instead, journalist Aldhous argues they merely turned into the "Facebook for DNA" social networks, fun popular gifts people used to connect with distant relatives from across the world. And yet, these tests also revealed more somber, disturbing truths: that, for example, the customer's "Dad" is not really their father, or even that their relative is a murderer – an insight that has led to privacy violations as law enforcement seek to use the tests' databases in their investigations.

Read: "10 Years Ago, DNA Tests Were The Future Of Medicine. Now They’re A Social Network — And A Data Privacy Mess."

Written and curated by Inside Dev and Inside Deals Editor Sheena Vasani, a freelance journalist based in California. Proficient in Javascript and Ruby. Got my start at Dev Bootcamp and Thinkful. You can follow me on Twitter

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