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News Link • Privacy Rights

23andMe Decides It Won't Automatically Reunite Long Lost Relatives

• popsci.com

23andMe, a service offering personal DNA testing, announced over the weekend that it is canceling a planned change to its online privacy settings, according to Vox.

The firm had recently notified around 350,000 customers that as of Sept. 12, they would be automatically "opted-in" to recieve notifications if their genetic profiles closely matched others in the service. As in, closely enough to be related.

But just before the change was to take effect, CEO Anne Wojicki posted to the firm's online community that it wasn't "the right call to promise that we would automatically opt-in those customers. Core to our philosophy is customer choice and empowerment through data...[C]ustomers need to make their own deliberate and informed decision if they want this information."

Since late 2013, the Food and Drug Administration has prohibited 23andMe from making any health claims from its genetic testing, because the firm failed to provide the agency with evidence that it had scientifically validated their tests.

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