FTC charges genetic testing company over failure to protect data

FTC charges genetic testing company over failure to protect data

The Federal Commerce Fee has charged a genetic testing firm with failing to guard prospects’ genetic information, marking the company’s first case targeted on the privateness and safety of genetic data.

San Francisco-based 1Health.io, previously often called Vitagene, bought DNA well being check kits and check outcomes to supply shoppers with reviews about their well being, wellness and ancestry as a part of product packages costing as a lot as $259. The corporate claimed to use an “ironclad” customary of cybersecurity to its dealing with of buyer information in these gross sales.

The difficulty, in line with the FTC, was the corporate incurred safety lapses that might have put client information in danger. There aren’t any allegations, nevertheless, that any client information was inappropriately seized by third events.

“Firms that attempt to change the foundations of the sport by rewriting their privateness coverage are on discover,” Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s bureau of client safety, mentioned in a press launch. “The FTC Act prohibits corporations from unilaterally making use of materials privateness coverage adjustments to beforehand collected information.”

In keeping with the FTC’s grievance, the corporate did not preserve a number of core guarantees, together with its claims that it might not retailer DNA outcomes with a buyer’s title or different figuring out data; that customers may delete their private data at any time, wiping it from the corporate’s servers; and that it might destroy DNA saliva samples shortly after they have been analyzed.

Furthermore, the corporate didn’t have agreements in place with third events requiring them to destroy DNA samples, elevating questions on what may need occurred to the samples, the FTC mentioned.

The FTC additionally accused Vitagene of failing to guard its digital information. The corporate left about 2,400 well being reviews about shoppers in addition to the uncooked genetic information of a minimum of 227 shoppers — generally accompanied by a primary title in publicly accessible Amazon Internet Providers “buckets” — with out configuring the safety settings correctly. An unnamed cybersecurity researcher discovered this public information on-line and contacted the corporate, in line with the FTC’s grievance.

In an announcement to The Washington Submit, CEO Mehdi Maghsoodnia criticized the regulatory motion as “extraordinary overreach” by the FTC.

“In the end, we disagree with most of the FTC’s conclusions,” Maghsoodnia mentioned. “However we sit up for lastly placing this matter behind us.”

As a part of a proposed order towards the corporate, 1Health.io is required to pay $75,000 in client refunds. It is going to additionally face quite a few cybersecurity restrictions, together with a prohibition towards sharing well being information with third events; guaranteeing that the FTC is notified about any unauthorized disclosure of client information; and implementing a complete data safety plan.


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