California Gov. Rejects Bill that Protects Privacy of Californians’ Genetic Data

SACRAMENTO – California Governor Newsom today vetoed a bill (SB 980) that would have established strong privacy protections for genetic data collected by direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing companies like 23andMe. Consumer Reports supported and provided input on the measure, which gained support from both consumer advocates and industry, and from California state legislators on both sides of the aisle. 

 

The measure would have required DTC genetic testing companies to obtain consumers’ consent before collecting, using, or disclosing their genetic data, and to adopt security procedures to protect it from unauthorized access.

 

“We’re disappointed that Governor Newsom rejected this common-sense legislation. Privacy and security protections over this extremely sensitive data are sorely needed, especially in light of data breaches at several direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies in recent years,” said Maureen Mahoney, policy analyst at Consumer Reports. “Without these protections, by default, California consumers’ most personal information can be bought and sold to third parties without their knowledge. We urge California legislators to take up this measure again in the next session, and for lawmakers in other states to pursue similar protections.”

 

Contact: David Butler, david.butler@consumer.org