Genetic testing company 23andMe investigated for data breach | World News

Genetic testing company 23andMe investigated for data breach |  World News

23andMe, which has sold more than 12 million DNA testing kits, says it will cooperate with the investigation by data protection bodies in the United Kingdom and Canada.

Monday 10 June 2024 22:53, United Kingdom

Watchdogs in the UK and Canada have launched a joint investigation into a data breach at a DNA testing company.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) announced the investigation into the October 2023 incident.

American genetics company 23andMe analyzes its customers’ DNA through at-home saliva collection kits to provide information on factors such as health and ancestry.

According to the company’s website, it has sold more than 12 million DNA testing kits since 2006.

Data protection regulators in the United Kingdom and Canada said they will combine their expertise and resources to conduct the investigation jointly.

It will examine the extent of information exposed by the breach and the potential harm to affected individuals.

The strength of 23andMe’s safeguards to protect information under its control will also be investigated, as well as whether the company provided adequate notification of the breach to the two regulators and affected individuals.

The ICO said: “23andMe is a custodian of highly sensitive personal information, including genetic information that does not change over time.

“It can reveal information about an individual and their family members, including their health, ethnicity, and biological relationships.

“This makes public confidence in these services essential.”

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UK Information Commissioner John Edwards said: “People need to trust that any organization handling their most sensitive personal information has appropriate security and safeguards in place.”

“This data breach had an international impact and we look forward to working with our Canadian counterparts to ensure the personal information of people in the UK is protected.”

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Canada’s privacy commissioner Philippe Dufresne said: “In the wrong hands, an individual’s genetic information could be misused for surveillance or discrimination.”

In a statement, 23andMe said: “We intend to cooperate with these regulators’ reasonable requests related to the credential stuffing attack discovered in October 2023.”