People can lose DNA ownership rights for themselves and their relatives with Ancestry.com

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Many people do not read the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy of the Ancestry.com agreement when they sign up for a certain service the company provides. Ancestry.com is a family history website. They now sell a new DNA testing service known as Ancestry DNA. To get this service people a sign legal contract stating they may own their DNA, but Ancestry.com does as well. The agreement stipulates Ancestry.com will have ownership of a customer’s DNA for eternity. This means the company will own a customer’s DNA even after the person has passed away.

Agree to Lose Legal Rights

It appears customers of Ancestry.com agree with this stipulation since they click on the area where they agree to the terms of the agreement. There is no way to know how many people actually read the agreement prior to clicking and agreeing to it. People need to consider how the agreement affects them and their genetic relatives. Ancestry.com will have world-wide license to a person’s DNA. The company’s agreement provides a warning that the DNA a person provides can be used against them or a genetic relative.

Third Party DNA

When someone submits their DNA to Ancestry.com, they give the company a transferable license to use their DNA royalty-free and on a worldwide basis for research and more. This also applies to any third party DNA submitted to the company by individuals who legally obtained the authorization to submit it.

Distribute DNA

The agreement also makes it possible for Ancestry.com to use and distribute a person’s DNA for commercial or scientific purposes without paying the person who supplied the DNA. They are able to provide a customer’s DNA anywhere in the world for use with current technology or technology that may be invented in the future. A customer’s DNA can be used in experiments around the world, and the company does not have to provide payment to a customer or their relatives for use their DNA.

Withdraw Consent

The agreement also enables customers to withdraw their consent from the company for the use of their DNA. There are a few situations where withdrawing consent will not be permitted. This involves research that is ongoing or finished as well as if the results and findings of the research have been published. When a customer withdraws their consent, Ancestry.com has 30 days to stop using the DNA. Withdrawing consent doesn’t result in a person’s DNA sample being destroyed or their information being deleted from the company’s database. This will only be done if a customer officially requests it. The company requires other steps a customer finds out about when they withdraw their consent.

Relatives DNA

Customers of Ancestry.com provide a DNA profile that is unique to them as an individual. A significant amount of a person’s DNA is identical to their relatives. This makes it possible for the company to get DNA from its customers and have a DNA profile of their customer’s relatives. This means Ancestry.com may have a DNA profile of a person who has never used their service, but their relatives have provided the company with DNA.

Disputes

Should a customer have a dispute with the company, they waive specific legal rights by signing the agreement. A customer agrees to resolve their issues with the company using binding arbitration. This means they are not able to resolve their disputes in a court of law. During arbitrations, the legal rules involving evidence, discovery, as well as a trial by jury, is not permitted. Customers are not permitted to join together and file a lawsuit against the company. The company’s provision in their agreement concerning arbitration will remain in place, even if a person terminates their AncestryDNA account. Customers can still bring complaints to local, state and federal agencies to seek relief.

When people use the services provided by AncestryDNA they are losing ownership and control of the DNA they provide. When using this service, individuals are releasing any form of genetic privacy they may have for themselves as well as their relatives. When a person submits their DNA to AncestryDNA, the company owns it for a person’s lifetime and beyond.

Learn more about Product Ownership and Product Safety.

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