Jimmy Patronis Tells Floridians: “Genetic Privacy is Important”

Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis continues his effort to warn residents of the Sunshine State about DNA testing companies sharing genetic information without permissions.

Patronis weighed in on the matter last week and said on Thursday that his efforts were starting to pay off.

“After facing criticism for sharing this information without explicit consent of the FBI, FamilyTreeDNA has decided to allow customers to block law enforcement from accessing your DNA records,” the CFO’s office announced.

“Genetic privacy is important—your DNA contains health data and I believe companies must do a better job of protecting it. You would be outraged to find out your doctor was selling your patient files for profit to Big Pharma or sharing this data with the government. Gene-testing companies doing the same thing is equally infuriating and we must take a serious look at if this should even be legal,” Patronis said on Thursday.

“Regardless of whether you are testing to find out your ancestry origins or nationality, your DNA contains personal health-related details. In the age of digital hacks, we must do everything we can to protect your information from falling into the wrong hands,” he added.

Last week, Patronis showcased proposals in the Legislature to “life insurance companies from considering genetic information when setting rates or denying policies” which will “further protect citizens by preventing insurers from requiring or soliciting genetic test results in any manner for any insurance purpose.” The bills are being championed by state Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, and state Rep. Jayer Williamson, R-Pace.

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