Dec 25, 2019

Pentagon warns against military service members using DNA test kits

Kit for personal genomics technology company 23AndMe. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

The Defense Department is advising military service members against purchasing popular at-home DNA testing kits because of possible "unintended security consequences and increased risk to the joint force and mission," Yahoo News reported.

Why it matters: Despite protests from the DNA companies, the Pentagon makes the case inaccuracies in DNA and health tests like popular kits from 23andMe and Ancestry could compromise service members' medical readiness compared to the general public.

The Department of Defense: "These [direct-to-consumer] genetic tests are largely unregulated and could pose personal and genetic information and potentially create unintended security consequences and increased risk to the joint force and mission."

  • "Possible inaccuracies pose more risk to DoD military personnel than the public due to Service member requirements to disclose medical information that affects readiness."

The big picture: At home testing kits have grown popular in recent years. Ancestry said in May that 15 million people have used their kits, now the largest consumer DNA network in the world.

  • Still, privacy concerns have arose on these companies collecting troves of genetic data from their customers.

The other side:

  • Ancestry: "Ancestry does not share customer DNA data with insurers, employers, or third-party marketers. Ancestry will also not share customer personal information with law enforcement unless compelled to by valid legal process, such as a court order or search warrant," a spokesperson told ABC.
  • 23andMe: “All of our customers should be assured we take the utmost efforts to protect their privacy, and that the results we provide are highly accurate," a spokesperson told ABC.

Go deeper: Genetic testing may prevent ER visits for kids with Type I diabetes

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One Medical's IPO reveals growing reliance on hospitals

One Medical's clinics are an option for almost 400,000 people. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

One Medical has filed paperwork to go public, and the growing chain of physician offices has made it clear to prospective investors that large, dominant hospital systems are becoming a lot more crucial to its business.

The bottom line: "Our growth depends on maintaining existing, and developing new, strategic affiliations with health network partners," One Medical executives wrote in their IPO filing.

Go deeperArrowJan 7, 2020

Ad biz tries to learn to live with privacy rules

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

After years of operating with minimal oversight or concern for user privacy, the advertising industry is finally beginning to adopt a privacy-first supply chain that it hopes will gain back the trust of frustrated consumers.

Why it matters: Even though the industry has banded together to push back against privacy regulations at the state level, it's found itself at odds over how it should proactively prepare for a more privacy-focused advertising ecosystem.

Go deeperArrowJan 21, 2020

California's new privacy law is here

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Starting today, Californians can find out what data certain companies have collected about them, and even ask for it to be deleted, under the new California Consumer Privacy Act.

Why it matters: The law covers residents of the most populous state, but it also has national repercussions. Some companies like Microsoft have already said they'll be extending the practices required under the law to all their customers and users. And other states tend to follow California when it introduces firm rules that don't exist on the federal level.

Go deeperArrowJan 1, 2020