DOD Advises Military Personnel to Avoid DNA Home Test Kits, Citing Privacy

December 31, 2019

The Department of Defense is warning military personnel against using home DNA test kits, citing the privacy risks that the tests pose. “These [direct-to-consumer] genetic tests are largely unregulated and could expose personal and genetic information,” reads a DOD memo circulated to servicemembers. “Moreover, there is increased concern in the scientific community that outside parties are exploiting the use of genetic data for questionable purposes, including mass surveillance and the ability to track individuals without their authorization or awareness.” DNA profiles contain sensitive personal data that can impact employment decisions, insurance availability, and criminal justice outcomes. EPIC’s Marc Rotenberg spoke recently with C-Span Washington Journal about the privacy risks of DNA kits. EPIC has backed privacy safeguards for genetic data in comments to federal agencies and amicus briefs for the US Supreme Court.

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