Monday, 21 January 2013

New Conditions of Use and Privacy Policy for SMGF site

Two new updates have been made to the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation website in the last week.

1) New Conditions of Use which took effect from 15th January:

2) A new Privacy Policy which similarly took effect from 15th January:

The Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation was acquired by in March 2012.  Ancestry have previously indicated that the SMGF site "will continue to operate for the foreseeable future". However, in October 2012 it was announced that Ancestry was to be acquired by the European private equity firm Permira. The sale was completed in December 2012.

It remains to be seen what will happen to the SMGF database now that ownership has effectively passed from Ancestry to Permira. The forms on the SMGF website clearly state that the database is now owned by AncestryDNA but do not mention the acquisition by Permira. The terms of the new conditions suggest that in future it will probably be necessary to "register for an AncestryDNA account in order to access certain services".

The new Privacy Policy allows for the sale or transfer of SMGF assets:
As our business continues to grow, we might buy or sell subsidiaries or business units. In these transactions, personal information is often one of the transferred assets. Also, in the event that AncestryDNA, or substantially all of its assets are acquired, personal information will, as a matter of course, be one of the transferred assets.
If you have submitted a DNA sample to SMGF I would suggest you review the new Conditions of Use and Privacy Policy. It should be noted that you have the right to remove your DNA record from the SMGF database. Instructions can be found on the SMGF Consent Form which specifically states:
Participation in this study is strictly voluntary. You may choose not to participate. You also have the right to end your participation at any time, and to decide whether the biological sample, genetic information, or genealogy you provided can remain part of the study or must be destroyed.
The consent form can be found here:

The consent form also states: "You will be told about any new information that might change your decision to be in this study."

As far as I am aware SMGF participants have not yet received any communications from AncestryDNA or Permira to advise them of the sale, the new Privacy Policy and the changed Conditions of Use. I hope this situation will soon be rectified.

© 2013 Debbie Kennett


Janby said...

I had 27 family members who participated in SMGF DNA testing before Ancestry shut down the website. Only 3 of those people are still living. This is such a loss. The unfortunate "media incident" was an excuse for them to steal something that can not be replaced. Least they could have done was turn the testing and results over to FamilyTreeDNA so we would have someone to work with.

I just found out that SMGF isn't the only DNA company Ancestry has purchased and then made it impossible for it's contributors to gain access to their own DNA results and samples. I paid $350 for my father's cheek swab, Y & mitochondrial testing, and the remains of his swab sample to be kept for further testing with Relative Genetics in 2006. So, am I just a little bit ticked off? You bet and more. Ancestry owes me money. Or they can pay for my 87 year old Dad to get the 111 Y test with FamilyTreeDNA before my Dad passes on too.

What Ancestry has done is criminal, in my opinion. Theft at the very least. And there should be a law about this type of thing happening because, with Ancestry, it keeps happening over and over again. They are the prime example of an unrighteous monopoly. I have written lots of letters, but nothing gets resolved with Ancestry. So I am still fuming.

I will say that before Ancestry these DNA sites provided me with life long friendships with family members, who I would not have met without DNA results. So in that respect I am thankful for that short period of time we had them.

Debbie Kennett said...

I'm very sorry to hear about your experience with SMGF and Relative Genetics. I'm sure that the closure of the SMGF database is in contravention of the wishes of James Sorenson. There ought to be some way for you to gain access to the samples of your deceased relatives. I do hope you are able to get a satisfactory response from Ancestry.

Unfortunately there have been a number of companies that have come and gone over the years. There doesn't seem to be any way to get compensation or to salvage the samples. The only solution seems to be to make sure that everyone tests with multiple companies.