Posted by Eric Heath on July 31, 2018 in AncestryDNA

As the market leader in consumer genomics, Ancestry recognizes our responsibility to lead by example and set the bar for industry innovation. We empower our customers at every step of their self-discovery journey, and protecting our customers’ privacy is our highest priority. We understand the sensitive nature of the information we handle and our responsibility as stewards.

For over 30 years, our commitment to making self-discovery journeys simpler, easier, smarter and more secure has anchored every innovation at Ancestry. Today, along with others in our industry, we doubled down on that promise, working with the Future of Privacy Forum to develop and introduce the Privacy Best Practices for Consumer Genetic Testing Services.

These Best Practices establish standards for the industry by providing a policy framework for the collection, retention, sharing and use of genetic data generated by consumer DNA testing services. We thank the Future of Privacy Forum for their leadership in working to get these Best Practices drafted, vetted and aligned.

Today is just the start. We look forward to seeing these Best Practices broadly adopted across the industry and evolve as the industry continues to grow.

Eric Heath

Chief Privacy Officer, Ancestry

51 Comments

  1. Dr. Charlotte Hunter

    Mr. Heath, what I would really like to see is an open forum so your customers might discuss problems they are having, learn from each other, and give you public feedback. Not allowing us to do this makes it appear Ancestry is not willing to be discussed publicly. I greatly appreciate Ancestry’s privacy rules and regs and hope you continue to treat our privacy as a major concern.

  2. Mary Beth Lang

    It would be an enormous help if you could possibly add buttons so we could separate paternal & maternal relatives.. I agree that a public forum would be really helpful.

    • Joyce

      I agree Mary…I have voiced this many times over the last few years. Ideally different colored stars would be all we need–it is not like it is a huge programming issue. I’d want more than a few colors though as when you start getting pretty far back, that is necessary to separate lines. There is a lot more they COULD do, but adding more color stars would be a quick fix until they decide to do more to help. There are several DNA sites I use, and each has their good points but nobody has a good filing system set up so you can keep track of things and get better organized.

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @Mary Beth. Hi, thank you for providing your feedback in relation to the DNA Matches tools. We apologize for the delay in our response and we are happy to help you today. Although we don’t have such feature on the website, at the moment, we would recommend to use the star icon to highlight the most relevant DNA Matches. We hope this helps.

      • Barbara

        We need something beyond the star icon. It can only be used for one purpose. I use it to mark DNA matches that I’ve identified and added to my tree. It would be greatly helpful to have several color icons 2-5 to work with so we can use them for various category identifiers. In the case of your reply, the user wanted to identify paternal and maternal matches. With only one star icon, how is that helpful to her. Right now, we only have one.

  3. lee swann

    I am very disappointed with your “ancestry” information. I am positively 1/4 Cherokee Native American; yet YOUR ancestry DNA “research” did not mention this at all. You show me Scandinavian, or western European; NO native American at all. Inlight of this I want a full refund of the monies I paid you.

    • Dana B Sheldon

      I am a professional genealogist.
      I would be curious to see your paper trail to your Native American Heritage and the compare to the DNA

    • Barbara

      One of the most common claims about ancestry is that American residents are Cherokee. Not a day goes by that someone voices the same anger and disappointment that you do. It’s very possible that your relative lived with a tribe without intermarriage. I would suggest that you research your tree and look for documentation. If it’s indeed true, your ancestors names will be on the Dawes roll.

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @Lee We apologize for our delayed response to you and will be more than happy to help you now. The DNA test can show if you inherited the traits for the Native American ethnicity. However, due to DNA recombination, every person may inherit anywhere from 0 – 50% of a specific ethnicity from either parent. Since you do not inherit every trait or marker from your ancestors, even if you are a direct descendant it might not show up in your DNA test. This would mean that the other ethnicities have been predominant and Native American DNA faded. The article here explains more about this: https://support.ancestry.com/s/article/Native-American-DNA-1460089694467. We hope this helps.

  4. pam

    Having recently purchased several DNA tests to be gifted to other family members, it would be very useful to have a dated statement of Ancestry’s policies to include with their gift. Given the many stories of “international computer insecurity,” many people unfamiliar with technology would be more interested in participating if they had some assurance that the information that they provide would be protected.
    Most Ancestry statements (and your current one) are easy to “share” but difficult to print as a regular paper copy for regular folks.

  5. Dale

    Those buttons/stars are a fantastic idea. At times I just bang my head against a wall trying to keep names, etc., straight. Color would be great just like a map.

  6. Bill Greggs

    I don’t understand why Ancestry is not using this blog to give regular updates on what’s being done to fix the horrible performance of Ancestry tree building. Every record addition results in getting thrown off my tree and having to work back to the person I’m researching. Shortcuts to open additional browser windows to check new records stopped working. It’s been a mess for some while now. Why are you not letting your customers know what’s going on and what is being done to address it plus when.
    Thank you

    • Nancy

      I type the last name I was working on to get back to the same spot. No idea how else to deal with it. I use the app on the couch.

  7. Gerry

    Be carefully with this site there is a person in my family sheila montes aka monette that is using this site for the sole purpose of slandering family telling lies about family members just to cause hardship and harm to family members if you contact her do so at your own risk for nothing will be private and you will leave yourself open to ridicule

  8. Susan Norsworthy

    I want to know if native American is tested on your DNA test.
    Please let me know
    Thank you
    Susan Norsworthy

    • Barbara

      I know you are waiting for Ancestry to reply, but the answer is yes. I am about 25% Native American in my results. I have many relatives who show the same result.

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @Susan Hi, apologies for our late response here. We can of course assist you with this query. Our AncestryDNA test can show if you inherited the markers for Native American. If you are interested in knowing more about this specific traits and what the test could tell you in relation to that, we would recommend to check the article here: https://support.ancestry.com/s/article/Native-American-DNA-1460089694467. We hope this helps.

  9. Billie Helms

    Tell me just exactly how I contact Customer Service? I don’t seem to be able to find a link for an actual contact – maybe a real person. What a joke – I clicked on your “contact customer service” link in your “Join the Discussion” paragraph above and I’ll tell you at this point I’VE BEEN TO THIS PAGE 20 OR 30 TIMES ALREADY! Now I’m getting pretty frustrated. My excitement for research is pretty much in the toilet at the moment. I have been a member OF Ancestry.com since 2000. This evening I have spent no less than 4 hours trying to get myself as a non “registered guest” so I can use this website. I have done every step your self-help site has said to do from clearing cookies to allowing your cookies – yet I am still coded as a “guest” and can’t seem to get access to the information I am seeking. Your Help pages do nothing but send people in circles which as I stated earlier I have been in for hours, always winding up on a site asking me to subscribe! I have looked and looked for a link to send you a message or to secure an address to request help – but this is the only page I have found that allows me to (maybe) contact you! Not a Happy Camper . . . Please correct my status so I can access what my subscription covers.

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    I appreciate the time and effort he (Dr. Wakina) put into giving our lives a meaning.

  11. Lydia Patricia Napierala

    I want to know WHY on the Ancestry Home Page the Recent Connect Member Activity is not working, I use to be able to see what had be posted back many months, now it is and been stuck on 22 July and nothing else has posted, I hit SEE MORE, and there is not more, this is helpful is seeing what others are finding, sharing, etc. So tell me WHAT IS UP??? It is frustrating.

  12. Damone Shariff Millsap

    This company can not give me my ancestry history , because I am a slave in this corporation. And it took my history away from my people. And gave my people biwords our names. So your company info would be inaccurate, and wouldn’t give me the truth.

  13. Christopher Carter

    I am HAPPY to inform you that Ancestry helped me to find my biological mother after giving me away 54 years ago to a neighbor. My search is over with GREAT RESULTS. We embraced each other on August 11,2018. Feel free to contact me.

  14. Carole Carmack

    Did the DNA test twice….first one was lost had to redo so I did but have not heard anything from the second test!!!!!

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @Carole We apologize for the delayed response. We are sorry to hear that you have had some issues with your AncestryDNA test. Have you received your DNA results since you got in touch with us or received an update on them? Please let us know if you have still to receive any update on your DNA results and we would be happy to look into this for you. Our email address that you can contact us on is socialsupport@ancestry.com. Thanks!

  15. Alec D Turnbull

    Well, I researched the privacy thing on the ancestry. I learned that Police/Detective sure did checked Ancestry/123and WITHOUT the warrant and arrested Golden State Killer recently. Do they legally do this?!? Where is our privacy!?! Not right for them to do this…..Gov’t can do this either huh? What the hell?!

  16. DEXTER M CLARK

    My Wife and I paid to have her DNA and Mine DNA I received mine we have not received hers I have emailed ancestry four time no response from them, why haven’t they have the courtesy to return my email or give a phone number that I reach them

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @Dexter We are sorry to hear of the issues you have experienced with your wife’s DNA test. We are also very sorry that you have not been able to receive any assistance from us regarding this and we would like to look into it for you. What email address were you contacting us on? Would you mind sending us an email at socialsupport@ancestry.com and we would be happy to investigate this issue from our end. Thanks in advance!

  17. Robert Holloway

    Please explain what being 98% English Welsh means..I am befuddled as welsh peoples are celtic and english people are anglo saxon..I can understand 50/50 or 60/40 or 70/30 etc but how can I be 98% english welsh..this is the updated results of my DNA ..I am looking forward to your explanation..

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      Hi Robert, thanks for getting in touch with us. We are very sorry for the delay in responding to your query. It is not uncommon for members to show results that are predominantly one region. The results of this test are entirely based upon what you’ve inherited from both lines of your family. The fact that you received results which which indicated 98% for England, Scotland and Northwestern Europe would indicate that your parents also had a very strong percentage of this region. The article we have linked below will advise further on unexpected ethnicity results:

      https://bit.ly/1TvfFE4

      We hope this helps advise.

  18. Darryl Duncan

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    I know that a phycologist might not be able to help me go through divorce because it has never worked for me. Divorcing could traumatize our kids, I can’t let them be emotionally crippled.
    I remember my grandmother once told me that not issues can be resolved physically, I should try solving some issues spiritually through a well-known spiritual doctor.
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    The spell work I never regarded rewrote my story. I’m touched beyond words, thanks Dr. Wakina.

  19. Judy ayer

    Why can’t I see my hints. So tired of this. I have been a member for some time but never can I see my hints. I have wasted my money. Very peeved with Ancestry.com

  20. Oxa

    Wow! Not one single comment is on topic. The topic is *DNA privacy*, people, not buttons or hints or Native American heritage! If you can’t address the topic, then you deserve to have your privacy invaded.

    • Bruce Davis

      Right on! By the way, why have there been no new blog postings by Ancestry in a month? Has it been discontinued? If I shouldn’t ask this question here, then where?

  21. Christine Morrison

    I am trying to MERGE duplicate people on my tree (using your online instructions) but when done, I find the merge has not happened, DUPLICATES have been created. This should NOT be happening!

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @Debra Apologies for the delay in our response. The only transplants that might change your genetic make up, and therefore affect the accuracy of the DNA test, are the stem cells transplant and the bone marrow transplant. Is you are a recipient of a different kind of transplant the test is appropriate. We hope this clarifies.

  22. Stephen F

    You and your service appear to provide no responsibility for privacy rights of unsubscribed relatives.

    With your apparent lack of oversight regarding communications such as email, my privacy has been violated and sealed court records have been made worthless.

    I have only contempt for your service as it applies to living relatives.

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