The Big Health Data Grab
Why 23 and Me’s transformation into a healthcare company is bad news for those concerned with the privacy, security and future of their most personal data.
Big genetic testing companies are in control of your DNA data and it is unlikely they will give up any form of ownership in the future.
Previously these companies, such as 23andMe or Ancestry.com, cross-sold your data to further develop medicine — better known as ‘precision medicine’ in the pharmaceutical industry’. These deals were known to be highly lucrative for these organisations and revealed their true business models allowing them to grow revenues from the cautious millions into the billions. As more people have caught wind of the ever-increasing value of DNA data, more deals and hacks have occurred from and into the databases of D2C genetic companies.
Below a short overview of some cases that we have observed since 2012:
Seemingly the company 23 and Me has not increased their level of care about the consumers who have actually paid the company to have their genomic data read for an ancestry report.
That became clear when the company 23&Me announced the recent acquisition of health data company Lemonaid Health, a telehealth and drug delivery startup that offers treatment and prescriptions for a select group of conditions, including depression, anxiety, and STDs.
The acquisition of Lemonaid officially transitions 23andMe from a nice ‘gadgety’ ancestry report company into a major player in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector.
To us at GenomesDAO it is only another sign on the wall that we need to act now if we want to have another say in what happens with our data in the future.
Another disgraceful example was announced earlier this week when the UK newspaper The Telegraph found out that Cignpost Diagnostics, a government approved COVID19-test supplier, was considering selling the DNA data they gathered through testing to big Pharma.
Don’t just take our word for it, many other players are getting involved to ensure that the individual will enjoy a higher degree of protection when it comes to the use of such highly sensitive personal data.
Eg: many privacy laws in the US are being tightened so that the consumer is more protected against this massive ‘data grab’ — this is only a start and in the very near future more will need to be done to ensure individuals are properly informed and protected about what happens with their genetic data.
GenomesDAO wants to put you back in control of your DNA data by not only making you the sole person who can access the vault holding your sequence but also by allowing you to make passive income from it whenever the data is being queried. Find out more about the workings of our products & technology here.