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75 Food & Drug L.J. 456 (2020)
Family Ties: The Familial Privacy Implications of Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing

handle is hein.journals/foodlj75 and id is 475 raw text is: 

Family Ties: The Familial Privacy Implications of

           Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing

                         CHARLES MATRANGA*


   Over the last fifteen years, direct-to-consumer genetic testing has evolved from an
amusing  consumer   service to a legitimate source of health information. Modern
genetic testing services collect and interpret a vast amount  of personal  health
information, with  results ranging from an  individual's sweet versus salty taste
preference to his or her genetic predisposition to develop certain diseases. However,
not only do these services reveal the personal health information of the individual who
provided his or her genetic sample, but it also implicitly reveals the personal health
information of that individual's genetic family members, who may share up to fifty
percent of  the same  genetic makeup.   Even  anonymous   genetic information  is
potentially retraceable to its original owner using publicly accessible genetic testing
services and databases. This Article addresses the lack of protections afforded to the
family members   of individuals who use direct-to-consumer genetic services in the
event that their personal health information is implicitly disclosed by a genetic testing
service through adhesion contracts, mergers, or a data breach. This Article specifically
discusses common   law  causes of action available to third-party family members,
including intrusion upon seclusion, rights as third-party beneficiaries to a contract,
negligent infliction of emotional distress, and class action suits. In addition to these
common   law causes of action, the federal government should also address potential
third-party privacy violations resulting from the implicit disclosure of a family
member's   genetic  information. Specifically, direct-to-consumer genetic testing
services should be  regulated as a  covered entity under the  Health Information
Portability and Accountability Act and the public disclosure of genetic information
should be strictly prohibited, regardless of whether such information is considered
anonymous   or not.


   Direct-to-consumer (DTC)  genetic testing is a popular trend in the United States.1
Millions of  Americans  have  sent saliva samples to private companies,  such as
23andMe,  seeking to discover a long lost relative or from what country their ancestors

       Staff Editor, Mississippi Law Journal, JD Candidate 2021, University of Mississippi School of
Law. The author wishes to thank Professor Matthew R. Hall and the Mississippi Law Journal Notes and
Comments Editors for their guidance and support throughout the writing process.
    1  Megan Molteni, Ancestry's Genetic Testing Kits Are Heading for Your Stocking This Year, WIRED
(Dec. 1, 2017), https://www.wired.com/story/ancestrys-genetic-testing-kits-are-heading-for-your-stocking-
this-year/ [https://perma.cc/2N9W-UKUW].


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