At What Cost: A Tale of Lost Privacy in America

What price are you willing to pay to learn the exact breakdown of your heritage? Some of the big players in the genetic industry may lead you to believe that you are only going to pay a modest $59 for testing. Unfortunately, the price may actually be much more than that.

Take a moment to consider all the recent Google privacy leaks. It becomes crystal clear that you’re putting a lot at risk to find out if your great-grandmother was from Italy or Portugal. Do you really want your entire genetic profile and personal information falling into the wrong hands? Do you want it “requested” by the government without your explicit permission? After all, if an internet giant like Google can’t safely store your information, how can you expect a genetic testing company to?

If you have no problem with either scenario, consider this quote by Benjamin Franklin, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” If this leaves you with an uneasy feeling, then read on.

Google Doesn’t Have Your Back

Google’s track record for keeping data private is lacking. In no way is your data behind any kind “bullet proof glass” server. In fact, it’s ripe for the picking.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane:

  • 2009: The Democratic party had a great year, as President Obama was inaugurated. However, it was not a great year for your privacy. That’s because 500,000 people who trusted Google Docs to store their private documents put their faith in the wrong place. Their documents were potentially leaked, and with that, we don’t know what confidential information was risked.
  • 2011: Who could forget Charlie Sheen’s meltdown that year? Most people have forgotten what the Electronic Privacy Information Center did that year. They submitted a Freedom of Information Act request in regards to the 2010 NSA records concerning cyber-attack on Google users in China. This was denied, but let’s not forget that Google and the CIA share a connection through In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the CIA. Therefore, we’ll never truly know the nature of the relationship between the CIA and Google. We also won’t know what that means for your privacy.
  • 2017: A great year for the scientific community and Google’s Shareholders. Scientists witnessed two neutron stars merging for the first time ever, and Google shareholders were humming, “I’m in the money”, as the company raked in $95.38 billion in ad revenue. That means that the information associated with your Google account and your IP address is up for grabs to internet marketers across the world. How comfortable are you with the idea of that information ever being leaked? Again, Google doesn’t have an iron clad reputation when it comes to leaks.

Those All the Time Risks

  • Cookies log your search history every time you use the internet. No we aren’t talking double stuffed Oreos! Google’s privacy policy doesn’t say whether or not your search record ever truly gets deleted. You might want to think twice about what you’re searching for lat at night, because you never know when it’s going to come back to haunt you.
  • Gmail tracks and stores every email you ever send or receive. As for now, Google says human eyes do not see this information. However, will you sleep well at night knowing that information could possibly be leaked?
  • Google has been known to be very compliant with the government’s requests for information. Consider that the next time you ponder your online privacy.

What Comes Next

Hopefully this blog post has made you a little wary of freely giving your personal and genetic information up. You might think twice about sharing your DNA just to find out where your great-grandmother actually came from. If Google can have privacy leaks, who’s to say a genetic testing company can’t suffer the same fate. There is good news. When you purchase a genetic testing kit from Secret Sequence, you won’t have to worry about any of that. We don’t collect any identifying information, so we have no data to breach.