A law giving consumers more control over their genetic data will take affect Jan. 1. SB 41, the Genetic Information Privacy Act, was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom Wednesday.
The act gives consumers of ancestral websites more control over how their data is handled. The bill’s author, Sen. Tom Umberg, said consumers are often given confusing instructions on how to opt in or opt out when it comes to allowing access to their DNA.
The act requires that authorization forms for third-party access be more clear for consumers.
Genetic data from ancestry websites have become a tool for law enforcement, but Umberg said his legislation won’t affect those types of investigations.
“It doesn’t affect it at all,” Umberg told City News Service.
Law enforcement investigators have always needed a search warrant to gain access to the information, Umberg said.
“You can’t just sell or give out material without some sort of court authorization,” Umberg said, adding that the new law “codifies what most of the direct-to-consumer companies were doing.”
Companies now cannot “be giving out the data willy nilly,” Umberg said.
Most of the concern was that the data was being used for targeted advertising, Umberg said.