FTC Charges Genetic Testing Firm for Deceptive Practices

The company also stored data insecurely and experienced breaches.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has charged genetic testing firm, 1Health.io, formerly known as Vitagene, for violations including not securing sensitive genetic and health data, deceiving consumers about the ability to delete their data, and retroactively modifying its privacy policy without proper notification or consent from consumers whose data had already been collected. The California-based company sold DNA health test kits and used DNA test results and user-provided information to generate reports on health, wellness, and ancestry.

As part of a proposed settlement, the firm will be required to strengthen protections for genetic information and instruct third-party laboratories to destroy all consumer DNA samples retained for over 180 days. The company would also have to refund about $75,000 to consumers.

“Companies that try to change the rules of the game by rewriting their privacy policy are on notice,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The FTC Act prohibits companies from unilaterally applying material privacy policy changes to previously collected data.”

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For Chair Lina Khan as she heads the FTC’s efforts to protect American consumers.
  • For Director Levine as he oversees the Bureau of Consumer Protection.
  • For private sector firms to adequately secure consumer health information and data.

Sources: Federal Trade Commission


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