FTC Alleges Data at Genetic Testing Company Was Not So Healthy

  • The FTC reached a proposed settlement with Inc., also known as Vitagene, Inc., to resolve allegations that the genetic testing firm insufficiently protected consumers’ genetic and health data.
  • Vitagene sold DNA health test kits and used DNA test results to provide the consumers with reports about their health and ancestry. According to the FTC’s complaint, Vitagene allegedly promised its customers “rock-solid security” that it then failed to provide. For example, Vitagene allegedly did not have a policy to ensure that labs analyzing DNA samples destroyed them in a timely manner, and retroactively expanded the types of third parties with which it could share consumers’ data to include entities such as supermarket chains and supplement manufacturers.
  • Under the terms of the proposed settlement, Vitagene must pay $75,000 that the FTC intends to be used for consumer refunds. The company must also destroy all consumer DNA samples that have been retained for more than 180 days and implement policies to ensure the safety of consumers’ health data.