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Why a Data Breach at a Genealogy Site Has Privacy Experts Worried

In Dr. Edge’s paper, he warned that it was possible to create fake profiles to identify people with genetic variants associated with Alzheimer’s and other diseases.“If something is just a geeky genealogist messing around, there is no concern,” Dr. Larkin said. But it becomes a problem, she said, if users are trying to find people who all share a particular genetic mutation or trait, as Dr. Edge cautioned. Such information could be abused by insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies or others, she said.The breach also reinforced something that genealogists have been saying for years: Mixing genealogy and law enforcement is messy, even when you try to draw clear lines. Until two years ago, the primary DNA databases that law enforcement used for investigations were maintained by the F....

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