As propitious moments go, this is the perfect time to remind our readers of the perils of having your DNA analyzed by one of the rapidly multiplying genealogical research firms. Before you make this potentially life-changing decision, be sure to read this article for a no-holds-barred look at the pros (not many) and cons (lots and lots) of succumbing to the genealogical companies’ siren song.
Unfortunately, for 12 million people (mostly Americans), this warning comes too late. Their DNA is now co-owned by one of the four or five largest players in “genealogical research.” No doubt about it, business is booming. More people took genetic ancestry tests last year than in all previous years combined. Ancestry.com, the largest genealogy company, announced that it had tested more than seven million people, including two million during the last four months of 2017.
How did these eager beavers entice so many otherwise careful consumers into their spider’s web? The old-fashioned way—advertising.
More than a felt need of consumers, the evidence indicates that the testing boom has more to do with the prodigious sums these companies are dumping into advertising. In 2016, Ancestry.com spent $109 millions on TV and other media spots. 23andMe, a smaller company, doing business at the same lemonade stand spent $21 million.
This is big business. Considering the amount of money swirling around, the stakes are high. Corporate behemoths are after your DNA and it’s not altruism that’s driving the aggressive marketing. It’s profits. Once your DNA is permanently ensconced on the database of any one of these companies, profit-making opportunities abound.
Even the Feds might come calling (probably already have). When it comes to the government’s involvement in the DNA collecting of for-profit genealogy firms, one curious little “coincidence” comes to mind. The largest genealogy company in the world is located in Utah. The NSA (laughingly referred to as the “intelligence community”) has spent the past two years building the $1.7 billion Utah Data Center where gargantuan amounts of your data in the form of emails, phone calls, google searches and other sources will be stored. Once the supercomputers are rolled in, it will be all hands-on-deck, about 200 technicians roaming around the one million square foot facility dealing with what used to be considered private and personal information. Not in today’s national security-obsessed America.
Hmm…a million square feet of space waiting for purloined information and the largest DNA-data base company practically on the doorstep. Reason to worry? Read “Hijacking Your DNA: It Could Cost You Your Freedom” and decide for yourself.
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