U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said Sunday he wants the Federal Trade Commission to review how companies that offer DNA testing kits in the home handle genetic data.
The Democratic Senate leader said he does not intend to stop testing or impede the investigation, but wants to make sure that privacy policies are clear, transparent and fair to consumers.
"When it comes to protecting consumers from the DNA testing service in the home, the federal government is in arrears," Schumer said. He added that "putting their most personal genetic information in the hands of third parties for their exclusive use raises many concerns, from the possibility of discrimination by employers to health insurance."
Several companies offer test kits as ways to learn more about health, heritage or family.
Many say they have strict rules about sharing personal information and do not provide genetic data without erasing identities, obtaining consent from users or receiving a court order.
One company, MyHeritage, said on Sunday that it has never sold or authorized DNA data to any third party without the explicit and informed consent of the user and never provides personal information to third parties.
Kate Black, the privacy officer of 23andMe, said the company takes privacy seriously. "We do not sell individual customer information or include customer data in our research program without the voluntary and informed consent of a person"
. The genealogy company Ancestry said in a statement that it hopes to work with Schumer and his colleagues. to protect the client's privacy.