Pentagon Warns Service Members Against Using At-Home DNA Kits

Why government workers are advised against taking home DNA test Ancestry and DNA testing kits, like those sold by Ancestry.com and 23andMe, are all the rage for the holidays....

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Why government workers are advised against taking home DNA test

Ancestry and DNA testing kits, like those sold by Ancestry.com and 23andMe, are all the rage for the holidays. However, the military is warning service members about the use of at-home DNA kits for safety and privacy reasons. The Pentagon warns that widespread use of DNA testing kits could even pose a national security risk.

“These [direct-to-consumer] genetic tests are largely unregulated and could expose personal and genetic information, and potentially create unintended security consequences and increased risk to the joint force and mission,” the Pentagon said in a memo last week. “Exposing sensitive genetic information to outside parties poses personal and operational risks to Service members.”

Erin Murphy, a law professor at New York University, told Yahoo! News that foreign governments could use genetic testing data to “out” undercover spies.

“It all boils down to the same basic idea,” Murphy said. “In a world in which a few stray cells can be used to identify a person, there is no such thing as a covert action, and no such thing as anonymity.”

However, many major DNA testing companies insist that users’ personal data is safe with them.

“Protecting our customers’ privacy and being good stewards of their data is Ancestry’s highest priority. Ancestry does not share customer DNA data with insurers, employers, or third-party marketers,” a spokesperson for Ancestry.com said in a statement. “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.”

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