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Influencer I

Is your Dad your Dad?

10% of you may not have the father you think you have.

 

This fact is arising out of DNA tests for things other than paternity.

 

Which may be creating problems and is certainly creating ethical dilemmas ...


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6 Replies
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Community Champion

Re: Is your Dad your Dad?

Interesting to say the least.  I am shocked by the 1 in 10 number, that seems excessively high. 

 

Never been a fan of those DNA tests .... not just because they uncover things that people don't want to know like this but I have always asked what do they do with the data?  Once you provide them with your saliva and they send you a report, where is your data going, who is using it, all those privacy questions but no one really answers those questions.

 

We know that now one of those companies is now owned by a world famous pharmaceutical company that they are probably developing drugs etc. that they will charge heavily for.

 

Definitely brings up both ethical and moral issues for the researchers and physicians.  Imagine if one of those databases were lost or stolen?

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Community Champion

Re: Is your Dad your Dad?

Their TOS and privacy policies do a decent job of spelling out the risks, including those that @rslade mentioned.

 

I concur that 10% is a surprising number.  It seems low for "Dad" (think remarriage). Simultaneously it also seems high for "Father", although that might say more about @dcontesti and I leading sheltered lives.

 

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Community Champion

Is your Dad a Dog?

Besides risks outlined in the fine print, the misuse of the data could absolutely not be excluded.

I am not much concerned about pharmaceutical companies using it: so long as it is anonymized, the data could actually help them to focus R&D initiatives on prevalent causes.

I am however, convinced that the health insurance companies will get to use that data for discriminatory treatment of potential clients.

For those outside of US, in countries with Universal Healthcare, this may not be an issue, but here it most definitely is. 

 

Besides that, there is an issue with the quality of data:

https://futurism.com/home-genetics-test-dog-human

 

It is one thing to learn that your dad is not your dad, but if he is a dog, things may get complicated.

 

The future scare is that it is getting increasingly easier to generate DNA using automated sequencers.

For now, this capability is limited to the pharma and medical research organizations, but when the costs of this technology will drop, the possibility of criminal use, such as planting of evidence, may become quite real.

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Influencer I

Re: Is your Dad your Dad?

> dcontesti (Community Champion) posted a new reply in Industry News on 06-02-2019

>     Never been a fan of those DNA tests .... not just because
> they uncover things that people don't want to know like this but I have always
> asked what do they do with the data?  Once you provide them with your saliva and
> they send you a report, where is your data going, who is using it, all those
> privacy questions but no one really answers those questions.

Well, I completely agree with you, but that is a different issue. The article was
talking about completely legitimate DNA tests, for medically necessary functions,
that still turn up information that might be ... "news" to the patients.

I agree that I am never *paying* to send my DNA to some unregulated outfit that
uses completely unkonw and unreliable "testing," and specifically (in the user
agreement) tells me they are going to use my information in any way they see fit
...

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rslade@vcn.bc.ca slade@victoria.tc.ca rslade@computercrime.org
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set rules or punish violators, your own role in the organization
is to take the blame when something big goes wrong.
- Spaf's First Principle of Security Administration
Practical UNIX and Internet Security, Garfinkel & Spafford
victoria.tc.ca/techrev/rms.htm http://twitter.com/rslade
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https://is.gd/RotlWB

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Community Champion

Re: Is your Dad your Dad?


@rslade wrote:
> dcontesti (Community Champion) posted a new reply in Industry News on 06-02-2019

>     Never been a fan of those DNA tests .... not just because
> they uncover things that people don't want to know like this but I have always
> asked what do they do with the data?  Once you provide them with your saliva and
> they send you a report, where is your data going, who is using it, all those
> privacy questions but no one really answers those questions.

Well, I completely agree with you, but that is a different issue. The article was
talking about completely legitimate DNA tests, for medically necessary functions,
that still turn up information that might be ... "news" to the patients.

I agree that I am never *paying* to send my DNA to some unregulated outfit that
uses completely unkonw and unreliable "testing," and specifically (in the user
agreement) tells me they are going to use my information in any way they see fit
...


Rob,

 

I understand that most of the tests mentioned in the article are legit although at my age (remember I am older than dirt), I have never had to have a medical procedure that required a comparison to either of the two folks that I thought were mom and dad. 

 

I reacted however as the article does talk about sites that reveal lineage.  Those are the ones I take issue with.  Of the two major ones, one was just bought by a major pharmaceutical company and the other is owned by a well known source of tracking ancestral information.

 

So we are on the same page I think, BUT I still think the 10 percent number is way to high

 

MHOO

 

d

 

 

 

 

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Community Champion

Re: Is your Dad your Dad?

The part I find most interesting is that people like to submit their test results so they can find relatives, which ends up helping law enforcement solve crimes by leading them to a near-relative of the offender.  So, before you go looking for long-lost cousin Alice, you might first want to first double-check that brother Bob does not have any deep, dark secrets.  And if you are Bob, you might want to have the dog lick your envelopes shut.

 

And yes, I do realize that this discussion has veered from medical-initiated to consumer-initiated DNA tests.