Tuesday’s Tip: Be careful out there!

Surveillance camers via Wikipedia.org, CC BY-SA 3.0 license.
Surveillance camers via Wikipedia.org, CC BY-SA 3.0 license.

AncestryDNA is emailing customers with a new promo offer to refer a friend, who will get a 10% discount on their AncestryDNA kit. The person who does the referring will get a $10 Amazon gift card. Sounds like a great deal, right?

Before clicking the “Tell a friend” button, make sure you click the ‘Terms and Conditions’ link first:


Wow. They can use your first and last name, the actual words from your email to your friend, any information you provided in your profile, such as where you live, your age, your picture, etc. etc. for both you and your friend. Would your friend (or family) like giving away their personal information in this way? What if you are referred by someone but do not want to be- can they use this information without the ‘friend’s’ permission?

AncestryDNA can even use the email you sent to that family member for Ancestry publicity- “Let’s find out if grandpa was illegitimate after all.” They can use any of that information in any way for any publicity now and into the future without asking your permission- because you are GIVING them your permission by clicking the link and taking the offer. You could be watching tv one day and your info pop up in an Ancestry ad (the above grandpa might have a heart attack), or it could be in an ad in a publication in one of those countries where people like to collect such data for identity theft and fraud. Either are possible. (Yes, a lot of that info is already out there, but this connects people and places and etc. easily.)

So, 10% off a $99 test kit is $9.90. A $10 gift card from Amazon makes the deal basically a discount of $19.90, divided between two people. Those who use this program are selling the privacy of two people and future use of their information for publicity for the low, low price of $9.95 per person.

Is this amount worth it???

We won’t even get into the audacity of Ancestry for requiring this. Especially when they say, “protecting your privacy is at the core of what we do”…

Ancestry has a new Privacy Policy as well, so we should probably read through that in case there are surprises- http://www.ancestry.com/cs/legal/privacyphilosophy.

We recently asked a cousin if they had taken a DNA test, and her reply was no, that she did not trust anyone to not take the resulting information and use it in nefarious ways. At first it seemed somewhat paranoid, but now… a slippery slope??

Google, Facebook, etc. mine our data and sell to the highest bidder. When things are free, like Google and Facebook, we know that “if you aren’t buying a product, YOU are the product.” (Read the Terms of Service for these websites and all that you use.) But when something is paid for, like an AncestryDNA kit or Ancestry subscription, we shouldn’t be the product.

So think twice before clicking a button on any website, and do your homework- AKA ‘due diligence’ in today’s jargon. Then make an informed decision.

Be careful out there.

Just sayin’.


Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. AncestryDNA Refer a Friend Terms & Conditions (see #5): http://refer.dna.ancestry.com/terms-and-conditions/55e0d3a363616e6796000009?o_xid=69620&o_lid=69620&o_sch=Email+-+Campaigns
  2. Ancestry’s new privacy policy- http://www.ancestry.com/cs/legal/privacyphilosophy
  3. Kuwait’s DNA program:
    The official stance- http://news.kuwaittimes.net/website/kuwait-to-enforce-dna-testing-law-on-citizens-expats-visitors-tests-wont-be-used-to-determine-genealogy-affect-freedoms/
    Another POV-


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