23andMe

WARNING: Police can obtain your DNA through sites like 23andMe, Ancestry

Genetic testing companies like Ancestry or 23andMe have exploded in popularity in recent years as millions seek to learn more about their family history. Alarmingly, many remain unaware that law enforcement can legally obtain your DNA information from these companies if they obtain a warrant.

23andMe’s self-reported data indicated that American police have sought information about five customers in their decade-long history. 23andMe boasted that in every instance they were able to rebuff law enforcement’s requests.

However, 23andMe Privacy Officer Kate Black went on to tell WFXT that this might not always be the case.

“We would always review a request and take it on a case-by-case basis,” she told the station.

Meanwhile, Ancestry reports that, in 2014, they complied with a search warrant that required them to identify a customer based on a DNA sample, according to WFXT.

Ancestry and 23andMe provide an online guide for law enforcement which spells out when they’ll comply with requests of that nature. Both companies claim that they will notify a customer about requests made for their genetic information unless a court order explicitly prevents them from doing so.

“If we do receive a valid preservation request, we will preserve a temporary snapshot of the relevant records for 90 days, after which we will automatically remove the information from our servers unless we receive a renewed valid preservation request for an additional 90-day period,” 23andMe’s guide reads.

The Boston station noted that both sites allow a user to delete their DNA results.

[Featured Image: 23andMe/Facebook]