UNITED STATES—The United States Department of Defense sent out a memo warning military personnel regarding the use of home DNA kits like Ancestry.com, 23andMe, and MyHeritage. The kits help individuals locate relatives and identify unknown health risks.
In a letter signed by Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, Joseph D. Kernan writers, “It has come to the attention of the DOD that Direct-To-Consumer(DTC) genetic testing companies are encouraging DOD personnel to purchase genetic ancestry and health information through the offering of military discounts and other incentives.”
Kernan warns, “These GTC genetic tests are highly unregulated and could expose personal and genetic information and potentially create unintended security consequences and increased risk to the joint force mission. Exposing sensitive genetic information to outside parties poses personal and operational risks to service members.”
He noted the increased concern is the result of the scientific community where “outside parties are exploiting the use of genetic data for questionable purposes.”
“Until notified otherwise, DOD military personnel are advised to refrain from the purchase/and or use of DTC genetic services,” said Kernan in the letter.
News spoke to a former Service Special Operations veteran, who wishes to remain anonymous for security reasons, who was in the Intelligence community and used one of the DNA kits.
“In my opinion, this is a catalog of DNA. At the end of the day, when you sign up for this you know that someone somewhere is going to have a copy of your DNA, and there could be security risks. That being said, hospitals also have this information. If your security is not strong enough, a bad person could hack the system,” the source told Canyon News.