View Full Version : General Statement: Be Careful With Your Data!

04-11-2019, 02:13 PM
Dear Members,

Over the past several years, a slew of new DNA testing companies offering attractive or novel ethnicity/ancestry breakdowns have emerged from the woodwork. Numerous threads created by enthusiastic members dedicated to these services have also emerged on this site and have amassed thousands of views.

Concerns have been raised, both within and beyond this site, regarding the data maintenance procedures or underlying intentions of these services. As the discussion threads here unintentionally serve as a passive form of advertisement, our administration would like to make a general statement relating to these services.

The purpose of the following statement is to provide viewers (members and unregistered users) with a general framework to assess each of these newer services. Our primary intention is to not only maximize your personal privacy relating to any content shared on this forum, but to also maintain your autonomy.

Most of the following should be intuitive, but a brief summary of what constitutes as 'best practise' in the genealogy-testing world is worth stating nonetheless.

As a reminder, Anthrogenica is an independent discussion forum. This site is funded by our members and is exclusively managed by members of this community. We are not, and never shall be, beholden to any second or third party services, either financially or logistically. However, companies are welcome to actively advertise their services with 'Company Rep' accounts, in accordance with our Terms of Service.

As we are a discussion forum, the passive advertisement of second or third party services frequently takes place through member posts and/or threads.

We strongly recommend all viewers to properly vet any DNA testing services that are mentioned in our forum - In each instance, please assess these in isolation by temporarily ignoring both the fanfare associated with the service and/or the perceived reputability of the member(s) discussing said service.

We also strongly recommend all viewers to thoroughly review the stated Terms of Use offered by these third parties, particularly with respect to data processing, data storage and your right to erasure. If you reside within the European Union, these companies are obliged to explicitly state these, per the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

As an additional measure, we recommend viewers who contemplate trying a service out to perform a general search regarding the company's reputability. This search should extend beyond this forum, as other individuals or sites within the broader community may contain vital insights.

Further, we recommend viewers to seek financial information about these companies to confirm their authenticity. If they are based in the West, their limited liability company (LLC) and security commission (name varies depending on the country) registration should be sought. If in doubt, or if this information doesn't exist, we recommend not enlisting the services of these sites by default.

In the event a discussed third party service has demonstrably suspicious origins or whose Terms of Use regarding data privacy (personal, financial, genomic) are found to be substandard, their passive advertisement here can be considered as a net harm to our community, and we request that our community informs us of this as soon as possible by contacting the 'Moderator' account.

As a final comment, we caution members against making unfounded accusations regarding the reputability of these third testing parties. Although litigation pertaining to slander or defamation through online Internet forums are notoriously difficult to undertake (let alone win), we recommend those members intending to publicly share any discoveries they make through this site to substantiate all claims. All public unsubstantiated claims made against these third party companies will be removed without warning.

Lastly, we direct members to the newly-announced Section 5.10 of our Terms of Service (https://anthrogenica.com/showthread.php?7-Terms-of-Service-and-Forum-Rules-Update&p=560425&viewfull=1#post560425):

5.10 Anthrogenica is an independent non-profit online discussion forum. Members of our website frequently share results or services offered by third party providers. The administration neither endorses nor guarantees the authenticity of any services shared by our members. Further, we cannot be held accountable for any potential loss of data, breach of privacy or other adverse outcomes that our users may experience should they decide to solicit the services of these third party providers. We therefore advise both members and guests alike to proceed very cautiously when interacting with any of these services, particularly if financial, personal or genomic data is involved.

In summary, Anthrogenica supports your right do as you please with your own genetic data and money, but we;
a) strongly advocate a conservative approach with both,
b) we'll eliminate the passive endorsement enjoyed by demonstrably suspect third party tools, but
c) you alone are solely accountable for what happens with your data if you decide to seek these services out, and
d) any claims of impropriety against a company must be accompanied by compelling evidence.

Thanks all for your time,