Ancestry.com Highlights Why You Should Read The EULA

Quick straw poll - how many of us actually read the license agreement when we sign on to an online service or install a new app? I'll be honest, I almost never do. And the only times I have is in corporate environments where the lawyers have done it for me.

But this week, it has been revealed that genealogy company Ancestry has been offering DNA testing where they claim perpetual ownership of your DNA.

An article by Joel Winston covers the specifics of the Ancestry.com issues.

Winston says:

Ancestry.com, on the other hand, gets free ownership of your genetic information forever. Technically, Ancestry.com will own your DNA even after you’re dead.

I wonder what other nasty surprises are in store for us when we delve into the detail of license agreements. What unexpected conditions have you found? Let's help each other by sharing the gotchas we've found in the comments.

Update: Ancestry.com has issued a statement regarding its license to use your DNA. I'm not a lawyer so I won't dissect what they have said. But I stand by what I stated earlier.

We all click or tap the OK or Accept buttons on license and user agreements without a second thought. I think the problem is the agreements are written by and for legal experts. They need to be written with users in mind.

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Comments

    A video game retailer once claimed eternal ownership of its customers' souls via a clause hidden in the T&Cs. (It was for a satanic-themed game, natch.) It was supposed to be a marketing stunt, but hardly anybody noticed.

    Hi Anthony - The Medium post is bit misleading and Our Chief Privacy Officer Eric Heath sets the record straight here: http://ancstry.me/2rHHSxb.

      Thanks for that. I have added an update with a link to your statement

      You clarify you don't own the DNA but the agreement still gives you a perpetual license for the DNA to use it in a wide variety of ways (including any and all DNA tests developed in the "future"). A question for you - what happens if you have my DNA and I die - is that considered the end of my Informed Consent or is the use of my DNA now with you forever?

    How legally binding are EULAs really? If I, for example, put in a clause that gives me ownership or all your possessions (including cars and properties), I imagine that would get laughed out of court.

    So why is that a nasty surprise? It's not a surprise to me. And furthermore, who cares?

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