Privacy is just not something to be expected in this day and age of technology and apart from the voluntary use of social media sites and applications that blatantly infringe on this right, people set themselves up for even more invasion when they request their genetic information. Ancestry and family lineage sites for the last few years has been picking up due to shows like “Who Do You Think You Are” and basically any tear-jerking story about long lost siblings who found one another through searching their lineage that you read on your Facebook page every morning. Lately, however, these sites, and not even getting to genetic testing sites like 23andMe, have been asking for more than just a last name and a few answers to personal questions. They have been asking for their customer’s DNA, their genetic data and the repercussions of allowing for a corporation to have the ultimate template and profile of you are greater than you even know.
Before you decide to get your DNA tested for signs of genetic anomalies, keep one thing in mind, scientists are still working, to this day, trying to uncover the complex information of the millions of genes that reside in the human body. We simply do not know enough to give sufficient information to people who are just looking to see if they are carrying a genetic mutation. These tests cannot significantly provide life saving information and as a result, should be used with a grain of salt, or even less than that. Knowing this, as well as the fact that the genetic industry as a whole lacks substantial privacy laws and regulations, there should be more wariness when it comes to giving up your genetic data so easily. It seems unlikely for anyone to give up the password to their email but when shipping their DNA to an unknown lab somewhere in the United States, people do not seem to show the same concern for their privacy. Is this precaution for not sharing DNA samples a little extreme right now, considering how the healthcare and tech industry still cannot utilize genetic information for anything more than research? Perhaps. But, with millions of people having their data breached across the country, by more companies than one, how can we be sure that this genetic information will not be next? People need to expect more from their legislators when it comes to protecting their privacy so whether it be securing the pass-codes on their smartphones or protecting the use of their genetic data, people should care because even though it is not here yet, it is well on its way and preparation for it is vital.