Is It Safe To Get Your DNA Tested?

Hi, this is Kate from MinuteEarth. Recently, a couple of us got our DNA tested. We learned lots of stuff about ourselves from
the analysis, but adding our genetic data to
all the other personal information currently living on the world’s servers also made us
wonder: Is that data safe? It turns out that commercial genetic testing
companies only analyze .02% of your DNA, which means that even if someone got a hold of your
genetic data, they couldn’t actually clone you. However, that tiny subset is a highlight reel
of the genes that vary from one person to the next – so someone with access to that
subset – and the right knowledge and tools – could not only recreate most of your genetic
report, but also figure out roughly what your face looks like. And by comparing certain sections of your
code with genetic data from people who have participated in open-source projects, they
could probably even figure out who some of your relatives are, and perhaps even triangulate
from there to put a name to your face. Still, according the the independent expert
we talked to for this video, genetic testing companies take data security pretty seriously,
so the likelihood of a server hack is pretty low. However, ultimately, your unique string of
genetic letters are only as secure as the string of letters you use to access them. If you’re like the 80% of people who use the
same username and password over and over again, hackers would just need to break in to a less
secure site and steal your credentials to gain full access to your genetic data. That data could someday be sold on the black
market to medical fraudsters. And it would probably also be valuable on
the regular market: Using DNA found at crime scenes, law enforcement officials have already
accessed genetic databases to search for suspects (and their relatives). Advertisers – who already buy lists of people
with certain medical conditions to serve targeted ads – could use genetic information to target
people in even creepier ways. Employers, who already scan prospective employees’
Facebook feeds for signs of trouble, might one day try to take a peek at applicants’
DNA, too. And of course, insurance companies could profit
by denying coverage to people with certain illness-linked genes. The good news is that – right now at least
– there are laws in some places that prohibit employers and health insurance companies from
gene-based discrimination. And most genetic data companies explicitly
promise not to hand over any personal genetic data to anyone except authorities with a court
order. What’s more, if you ask them to, testing companies
will trash your spit sample and your data. But whether you decide to get your DNA tested
or not, putting your personal information out there will probably never be totally risk-free,
so the best thing you can do to keep your unique string of letters private is to make
each of those other strings of letters – and numbers, and special characters – unique,
too. This video was sponsored by Dashlane, a password
manager that generates and stores secure passwords for your accounts. It’s no coincidence that a password manager
is sponsoring this video – we actually reached out to Dashlane when we realized just how
important password security is to this question of safeguarding our genetic data. Our team has been using Dashlane for years,
both for personal use and to share MinuteEarth’s account credentials with one another. To get Dashlane for free today, simply click
on the link in the description; you can also use the special promo code youtube2018 to
get 10% off Dashlane Premium.


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *