Millions of 23andMe users had their info leaked once again after being hacked earlier this month, according to a report by TechCrunch. The hacker, who goes by the name “Golem” on multiple dark web forums, published user information containing records of over four million people. This article provides tips on how to protect your genetic information and safeguard your privacy.
Steps to Safeguard Your Genetic Information
Choose Strong Passwords
- Use unique, impossible-to-guess passwords for each site you use.
- Change your passwords regularly.
- Consider using a password manager to store and generate strong passwords.
- Enable two-factor authentication for an extra layer of security.
Request Data Deletion
- Contact 23andMe or other genetic testing companies to delete your data.
- Be aware that data deletion may not be immediate or permanent.
- Check privacy policies and terms of service to understand data usage and sharing.
Be Cautious with Sharing
- Think twice before sharing your genetic information.
- Avoid uploading raw DNA data to third-party websites or apps.
- Read and understand privacy policies and terms of service before sharing your data.
Understand the Risks and Benefits
- Weigh the pros and cons of genetic testing before giving away your DNA.
- Consider the privacy implications of genetic testing.
- Remember that your genetic data is not only personal but also familial.
Legal Implications and the Importance of Protecting Your Genetic Data
The recent data breach at 23andMe and other genetic testing companies raises significant concerns about the legal implications surrounding the privacy and security of genetic data. When your DNA is exposed to hackers and scammers, it can result in identity theft, discrimination, or even blackmail.
As Jennifer King, the director of privacy at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, emphasizes, “Your DNA is like a fingerprint – it’s unique to you and can identify you. If someone has access to it, they can potentially impersonate you or use it against you in some way.” This quote underscores the seriousness of protecting your genetic data and the potential consequences of its unauthorized access.
Additionally, sharing your genetic information without proper consent can have familial implications. Your DNA not only reveals information about your personal health and ancestry but also that of your relatives who may not have given their consent to this disclosure.
Given these legal and familial considerations, it is crucial to carefully consider the risks and benefits of genetic testing, as well as take proactive steps to safeguard your genetic data from unauthorized access or misuse.
The recent data breach at 23andMe highlights the importance of protecting your genetic information. By following these steps, you can safeguard your data from hackers and scammers. Remember to choose strong passwords, request data deletion when necessary, be cautious with sharing, and understand the risks and benefits associated with genetic testing. Your privacy and security should always be a top priority.