Isolated DNA in tubes.
Patrick Alexander / flickr
On Tuesday, an Alaska man became the lead plaintiff in a proposed class-action lawsuit filed against the makers of Family Tree, a Texas-based DNA testing company.
In his suit, Michael Cole alleges that months after purchasing a Family Tree at-home genetics kit and joining a “project,” an online forum for people doing related research about their ancestors, “the results of his DNA tests were made publicly available on the Internet, and his sensitive information (including his full name, personal e-mail address, and unique DNA kit number) was also disclosed to third-party ancestry company RootsWeb (a subsidiary of Ancestry.com, a company that allows users to research their lineage).”
If approved as a class-action, the lawsuit would include Alaskans who had their DNA results shared by Family Tree without their consent. But it’s not clear exactly how many people that could potentially include. The filing charges Family Tree with being in violation of the Alaska Genetic Privacy Act and asks the court to award the plaintiffs $100,000 in damages plus attorney’s fees.
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