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Call for Baseline Requirements

Lawmakers should develop baseline regulations for consumer genetic testing companies, a Washington Post editorial argues.

Privacy concerns regarding genetic testing have come to the forefront after law enforcement's increasing use of genetic genealogy databases to search for suspects in cold cases. While this has led to arrests, including in the Golden State Killer case, it has also raise questions about data sharing, the Post adds.

Companies like 23andMe and Ancestry have recently developed and adopted guidelines governing when they would share customer data with other companies or with law enforcement officials. In particular, they said they would seek users' separate, express consent to provide their individual genetic data to third parties and would disclose the number of requests from law enforcement they receive annually.

But the Post notes "voluntary commitments from a handful of companies can only do so much." In its editorial, it calls on Congress to create standards.

"Genetic-testing technology is progressing rapidly. The rules need to keep up," the Post writes. "Even as companies strengthen their privacy policies, lawmakers should consider creating baseline security standards and disclosure requirements to ensure that consumers understand the risks and how their data can be used."