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Ancestry.com may be using your DNA to determine what ads you see

By   /  September 8, 2015  /  No Comments

A recent article from Freedom to Tinker indicates that however invasive you might think Google or Facebook are when it comes to collecting data about you, they’ve got nothing on Ancestry.com.

The author of the article found that the privacy policy for Ancestry’s DNA services have some fairly alarming caveats.

Subject to the restrictions described in this Privacy Statement and applicable law, we may use personal information … to help you and others discover more about your family, to let you know about offers of interest from AncestryDNA or Ancestry, and to prepare and perform demographic, benchmarking, advertising, marketing, and promotional studies.

Another section also states that:

To distribute advertisements: AncestryDNA strives to show relevant advertisements. To that end, AncestryDNA may use the information you provide to us, as well as any analyses we perform, aggregated demographic information… In these ways, AncestryDNA can display relevant ads on the AncestryDNA Website, third party websites, or elsewhere.

In other words, in addition to collecting data about someone’s age, gender and family background, if you use Ancestry’s DNA services, you’ll also allow them to display advertisements to you based on your DNA. These ads may show up on Ancestry.com and other websites.

Ancestry’s DNA services allows someone to find out more about their family, ethnic makeup and genetic history for about $100. People are sent a kit that allows them to collect DNA for the service, which they send back to Ancestry. After analyzing the sample, individuals are provided with Ancestry’s findings.

When contacted about the issue of using DNA as part of their ad program, Ancestry stated that:

We do not provide advertisers with access to individual account information. AncestryDNA does not sell, rent or otherwise distribute the personal information you provide us to these advertisers unless you have given us your consent to do so.

The issue with that is that people hit “Accept” willy nilly on just about everything. I mean, the privacy policy had probably been in place for quite a while before anyone even bothered to read it and say, “Gee, that’s odd.” If I ever have any children, there’s a good chance that they will be owed to a number of online services.

Further, Ancestry doesn’t have to share any data. It just has to allow advertisers to filter and target based on the information they have collected. Just like with Facebook, advertisers don’t need to know the details of individuals’ accounts.

  • Published: 5 years ago on September 8, 2015
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  • Last Modified: September 8, 2015 @ 4:16 am
  • Filed Under: News, Opinion
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About the author

I'm an avid reader of stuff and devour information of all kind. For the past four years, I've been pursuing my passion for writing. When I'm not reading or writing, you'll find me knitting. Follow me on twitter: @MarilynMaupinTS

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