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Ancestry.com Disclosure of Genetic Information Illinois GIPA Class Action

What privacy rights do we have to our genetic information? Illinois has a Genetic Information Privacy Act (GIPA) that attempts to protect privacy rights in that area. The complaint for this class action alleges that Ancestry.com DNA, LLC has violated that law because it disclosed genetic information to Blackstone, Inc., a private equity firm that bought Ancestry.com in 2020.

The class for this action is all Illinois residents whose genetic information was disclosed or released by Ancestry.com to Blackstone, according to Ancestry.com’s records.

What constitutes “genetic information”? According to the complaint, GIPA says it’s “information pertaining to: (i) the individual’s genetic tests; (ii) the genetic tests of family members of the individual; (iii) the manifestation of a disease or disorder in family members of such individual; or (iv) any request for, or receipt of, genetic services, or participation in clinical research which includes genetic services, by the individual or any family member of the individual.”

Under GIPA, parties in possession of genetic information may not disclose genetic testing or information derived from it to anyone other than the individual tested or to persons the individual has authorized in writing to receive it.

The complaint claims, “GIPA’s requirements bestow a right to privacy in one’s genetic information and a right to prevent the disclosure of such information without [one’s] consent.” The complaint alleges that a company can comply with this law via “a single, signed sheet of paper or its electronic equivalent.”

The Illinois legislature said it believed that individuals are deterred from getting genetically tested because people fear that their genetic information will be shared with others without their consent or “used in a discriminatory manner.” The legislature wanted to encourage people to improve public health by establishing ways to use this information in “voluntary and confidential nondiscriminatory use of genetic testing information.”

Blackstone completed its acquisition of Ancestry.com on December 4, 2020. After this, the complaint says, Ancestry.com announced on its website that the genetic information it had “would be released and/or disclosed to Blackstone for its use. However, [Ancestry.com] failed to identify any method by which [those whose genetic information it had] could prevent such disclosure of their genetic information to Blackstone or any other party.”

According to the complaint, Ancestry.com did release the information to Blackstone without obtaining consent. Blackstone acquired not only the genetic testing information but also accompanying information of a kind that may be used to identify the people whose information was released.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Privacy

Most Recent Case Event

Ancestry.com Disclosure of Genetic Information Illinois GIPA Complaint

October 29, 2021

What privacy rights do we have to our genetic information? Illinois has a Genetic Information Privacy Act (GIPA) that attempts to protect privacy rights in that area. The complaint for this class action alleges that Ancestry.com DNA, LLC has violated that law because it disclosed genetic information to Blackstone, Inc., a private equity firm that bought Ancestry.com in 2020.

Ancestry.com Disclosure of Genetic Information Illinois GIPA Complaint

Case Event History

Ancestry.com Disclosure of Genetic Information Illinois GIPA Complaint

October 29, 2021

What privacy rights do we have to our genetic information? Illinois has a Genetic Information Privacy Act (GIPA) that attempts to protect privacy rights in that area. The complaint for this class action alleges that Ancestry.com DNA, LLC has violated that law because it disclosed genetic information to Blackstone, Inc., a private equity firm that bought Ancestry.com in 2020.

Ancestry.com Disclosure of Genetic Information Illinois GIPA Complaint
Tags: Genetic Information, Your Privacy