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Blackstone Transfer of Genetic Information Illinois GIPA Class Action

The Blackstone Group, Inc. acquired Ancestry.com DNA, LLC, a genetic testing company, in 2020. The complaint alleges that this involved “the illegal transfer of thousands if not millions of individuals’ genetic information to [Blackstone], a multi-billion-dollar private equity firm…” The law cited is Genetic Information Privacy Act (GIPA), an Illinois state law that the complaint alleges is meant to prevent disclosure of … immutable genetic information to unauthorized third[ ]parties without … written consent.

The class for this action is all Illinois individuals whose genetic testing and information derived from their genetic testing was obtained by Blackstone, according to Blackstone’s records.

Ancestry is “the largest consumer genomics testing company in existence,” according to the complaint.

Under GIPA, genetic information includes information pertaining to

  • An individual’s genetic tests,
  • The genetic tests of the individual’s family members,
  • The manifestation of a disease or disorder in the individual’s family members, or
  • A request for or receipt of genetic services, or participation in clinical research which includes genetic services, by the individual or any family members.

Under GIPA, Blackstone may not obtain genetic testing, or information derived from it, unless this is authorized in writing by the individual whose genetic information is being obtained.

The complaint alleges, “In order to capitalize on the massive database of genetic information owned by Ancestry, Defendant Blackstone sought to purchase Ancestry, obtain … genetic information, and then share such information with affiliates of [Blackstone] if not other third[ ]parties to monetize its acquisition.”

It adds, “Indeed, [Blackstone] disclosed in regulatory filings last year that agreements to share information between its affiliated entities have already been implemented and that its effort to repackage and sell such information to unaffiliated third[ ]parties is underway.”

The complaint contends, “Under GIPA, the results of a DNA or genetic test are confidential and the subject of such testing has a right to prevent others from receiving their genetic test results without written consent.” However, after Blackstone bought Ancestry, it obtained the genetic testing results and other associated information for thousands of people, without obtaining the consent of any of them.

Ancestry seems to have tried to get around this by posting a privacy statement on its website, after the acquisition, that said, “If Ancestry or its businesses are acquired or transferred…, we will share your Personal Information with the acquiring or receiving entity.” However, the complaint contends that this is not enough: Blackstone “failed to identi[f]y any method by which [individuals] could prevent such disclosure of their genetic information to [Blackstone] or any other party.”

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: News, Privacy

Most Recent Case Event

Blackstone Transfer of Genetic Information Illinois GIPA Complaint

July 8, 2021

The Blackstone Group, Inc. acquired Ancestry.com DNA, LLC, a genetic testing company, in 2020. The complaint alleges that this involved “the illegal transfer of thousands if not millions of individuals’ genetic information to [Blackstone], a multi-billion-dollar private equity firm…” The law cited is Genetic Information Privacy Act (GIPA), an Illinois state law that the complaint alleges is meant to prevent disclosure of … immutable genetic information to unauthorized third[ ]parties without … written consent.

Blackstone Transfer of Genetic Information Illinois GIPA Complaint

Case Event History

Blackstone Transfer of Genetic Information Illinois GIPA Complaint

July 8, 2021

The Blackstone Group, Inc. acquired Ancestry.com DNA, LLC, a genetic testing company, in 2020. The complaint alleges that this involved “the illegal transfer of thousands if not millions of individuals’ genetic information to [Blackstone], a multi-billion-dollar private equity firm…” The law cited is Genetic Information Privacy Act (GIPA), an Illinois state law that the complaint alleges is meant to prevent disclosure of … immutable genetic information to unauthorized third[ ]parties without … written consent.

Blackstone Transfer of Genetic Information Illinois GIPA Complaint
Tags: GIPA, Genetic Information, Your Privacy