17 March 2016

Family Tree DNA uploads to GEDmatch suspended

This notice posted on the GEDMatch website got a lot of attention in the genetic genealogy community.

This is strange. FTDNA has formerly been supportive of citizen scientists who want to delve further into their DNA results than is possible on the company website. Why the suspension? An answer from FTDNA was posted on Facebook

"We have reached out to GEDMatch expressing our concern that their website could potentially lead to breach in privacy of our customers. Given this, we propose to discuss the subject with them, but in parallel we suggested that until further clarification and assurances that the privacy of out customers records are protected, Family Tree DNA uploads should be suspended. We hope that with the cooperation of GEDMatch we can reestablish the uploads in the near future."

It's unclear how a FTDNA client who voluntarily go through the process of transferring their own results to GEDMatch could in any way assign blame to FTDNA for any such breach. One can speculate and there may well be more to it.

Most recently GEDmatch posted the following.

We regret we had to make the decision to stop accepting FTDNA DNA uploads. FTDNA has threatened to sue GEDmatch over claimed privacy issues. We have been asked not to discuss the details, because it would be to FTDNA's disadvantage. Suffice it to say that FTDNA's own site seems to currently violate these same issues. 

We would prefer to work closely with FTDNA in solving this problem to everybody's benefit, but we have not received a response to any of our suggested compromise solutions. The technical obstacles to satisfying FTDNA current demands are significant. It appears that our only alternative may be to remove all FTDNA DNA match results from GEDmatch. The issues raised by FTDNA do not apply to kits from other testing companies. 

We appreciate the overwhelming support GEDmatch users have expressed on public forums. 

Hopefully this gets resolved quickly as FTDNA risks losing clients to other companies and existing clients could be deprived of a facility they formerly had the option of using.

Developing ...

1 comment:

Barbara said...

Thanks for the heads-up, John. I will be writing to FTDNA to voice my opinion about their privacy "issues". As you say in your blog, I chose to upload my data to GEDMatch; how could I possibly blame FTDNA for any breach of my privacy. It's up to me to protect my privacy as I see fit in this case. Honestly!! I tested with FTDNA BECAUSE I could upload my data into GEDMatch easily. I will be VERY upset if I lose the ability to use my data in GEDMatch. That is where I have found almost all my matches!