Friday, July 14, 2017

Ancestry Making Changes to AncestryDNA Test Activation and Administration

If you have an AncestryDNA test (or tests as many cases may be) processed, still siting around the house, or on route to you/the tester/the company, you are likely not aware of a change that Ancestry announced on its blog yesterday.

As of this morning based on comments and experience, no email from Ancestry corporate has been sent directly to Ancestry subscription members, AncestryDNA test purchasers, current AncestryDNA administrators, etc. announcing this change in policy.

As of July 18, 2017, Ancestry says each AncestryDNA tester (that is the person who provides the spit) must have their own Ancestry account and an email address and activate the test kit themselves. The tester would then invite the person who requested he/she take the test as a manager of that test while the tester retains ownership as the owner.

Ancestry said current accounts with multiple AncestryDNA tests will be allowed to retain "management" rather than administration of those tests. 

Though Ancestry said this change will be of as July 18th meaning multiple kits can still be activated under one account in the next few days, that activation process has already changed and there is currently no way for an administrator now called manager in the activation process to tell Ancestry what that tester's choice is regarding Agree to or Not Agree to Informed Consent regarding participation in research projects meaning can they or can they (Ancestry) not use/sell that DNA information scrubbed of personal details in research projects.

There is also currently no way for a "manager" to see what that tester's participation choice (agree or don't agree) is currently set at ... meaning is Ancestry still following the edicts of this tester ... for the tests they manage. This is of particular concern to those who manage multiple "grandfathered" tests in his/her account -- there is no way to ensure that tester's choice is being followed because there are no registered "owner accounts" of those older tests.

As can be seen on the comments section of that Ancestry Blog post, the overwhelming majority of the comments (384 and growing by the minute) are negative and against the change which Ancestry says is being made for personal privacy and control.

Another issue with two aspects being brought up in the comments is that: 1) there are people out there willing to test but they have no desire to manage their DNA or have an Ancestry membership due to various reasons (no interest in doing genealogy, no time, etc.), and 2) there are people out there willing to test but they do not have a device (computer, tablet, smartphone) nor an email account because they can't afford such and/or have no desire to own such, or they are not familiar with technology others take for granted (like some elderly) and do not own/use those devices or have an email account. Both those in Group 1 and Group 2 are happy to have someone else activate and administrate the test they were willing to provide spit if that is all they had to do. With the stated changes testing these individuals becomes extremely difficult if not impossible without bending the rules.

As some commenters have pointed out, the current/previous system of administrating tests was working and liked. A simple or somewhat simple consent form (like other DNA testing companies use) included in the test kit or available online would likely have covered any issues.

Read the blog announcement for yourself, add your comment if would like to do so. We have tried to keep this post informative including the jest of the announcement and overall constructive themes of some of the many hundreds of comments.

See you soon at Mt. Clemens Public Library!

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