Ways To Protect Your DNA Data In 2020
With so much of our lives in 2020 taking place online, it’s never been more important to understand how to protect your DNA data. Your most sensitive genetic information needs protection not only from nefarious attacks, hacks, and data leaks but also from seemingly harmless third party activities and research.
Keep reading to learn more about the associated risks of DNA data and how you can protect yourself.
What Is a Mail-In Genetic Test?
Genetic testing is currently all the rage. After all, who wouldn’t want to learn incredible insights about their own health or family history and ancestry? Testing companies have compiled massive databases of DNA data, thanks to the millions of users they have attracted around the world.
You might be wondering, why are so many people drawn to DNA testing? At-home kits allow you to test your genetic information without ever leaving your home. That’s right, no blood test and no trip to the doctor's office. Simply order a testing kit off a testing company’s website, and within a few days, it’ll arrive at your doorstep.
Your next step is to submit a painless cheek swab or saliva sample, and then send your sample securely back to the company. After a few weeks, you’ll receive an analysis of your sample. Depending on what kind of test you ordered, this might include health information like predispositions to diseases, or ancestry related information like matches with living relatives.
How To Protect Your Data
With so many people enjoying the ease of at-home testing kits, many are beginning to wonder what companies do with their data. The only real way to know how a company will use your genetic information is to follow the following steps:
- Understand how to delete your information from the company database
- Learn more about raw DNA data
Don’t be intimidated by the policy, no matter how long or complicated it seems. When dealing with someone who has control or access to your genetic information, you’ll want to be as careful as possible.
Choosing A Reputable DNA Testing Company
Larger companies tend to be held to a higher standard and need to be more transparent with their privacy policies. Going with a well-known company is probably a safe bet, but do your research and make sure you feel comfortable with your decision.
How To Delete Your DNA Testing Data
You’ll also need to determine how you can delete your information from the company once you receive your analysis. The company will most likely outline specific steps you’ll need to take to completely and successfully delete your information. This should be a relatively simple process that you can complete within a few steps via the company’s website or mobile application.
You should also understand how to obtain your raw DNA from the testing company. This raw data will look like a series of numbers and letters to the average person. Holding on to this genetic information is beneficial if you wish to learn more later on. A trained professional can interpret and analyze it for you should you choose to pursue additional analysis.
Being proactive and following these simple steps will empower you to protect your most sensitive information.
You shouldn’t be scared of pursuing an at-home genetic testing kit. Thanks to a rise in awareness about data privacy, companies are taking necessary steps to provide test takers with clearer instructions about their personal information.
The benefits of taking an at-home DNA testing kit are huge. You can trace your ancestry, build a family tree, connect with living relatives, and so on. Some people even learn saving information about themselves from a simple genetic test.
Remember to do your research and find a reputable company to work with. Think carefully about your privacy and what you’re comfortable with. Working through this process will allow you to find the right company and leave you feeling secure.