AncestryDNA Privacy Statement (United States)

View AncestryDNA Privacy Statement for regions outside the United States

AncestryDNA Privacy Statement


Last Updated October 14, 2016.

AncestryDNA wants to help everyone to discover, preserve and share their family history through its DNA testing and analysis services. We want you to feel comfortable using your DNA to further your understanding of your family history. We also want to help you understand how DNA information is shared with others and how personal information and privacy are protected.

This Privacy Statement applies to visitors and new users registering on the Website on or after October 14, 2016, and to all users already registered on the Website on or after November 14, 2016. For the previous version of this Privacy Statement, please click here.

In this Privacy Statement, AncestryDNA shall mean Ancestry.com DNA, LLC.("AncestryDNA" or "we").

Our Privacy Commitment

AncestryDNA offers a DNA testing service that enables users ("Users") to provide saliva samples, from which we extract and perform certain tests on their DNA ("DNA Tests"). We also provide online services where Users can discover their ethnicity through a personalized ethnicity estimate and identify possible other relatives who 'match' with the results of the DNA Tests (collectively, the "Results"). This involves the collecting, processing, storing and sharing of personal information and we want to ensure that this is done in a responsible, transparent and secure environment that fosters your trust and confidence. AncestryDNA operates the website located at ancestryDNA.com or via the DNA section of the Ancestry.com website (the "AncestryDNA Website" or the "Website"). Together, the DNA Tests, the AncestryDNA Website, and the online service where Users can view their Results is herein referred to as the "Service".

By using the AncestryDNA Website and the Service, you consent to AncestryDNA’s collection, use, storage and disclosure of the personal information you provide in accordance with this Privacy Statement. Much of the personal information on the AncestryDNA Website is uploaded by Users for their own personal purposes. We recognize the confidentiality of information that may be disclosed by Users in registering or making purchases from the Website or performing DNA Tests and we are committed to helping to protect your privacy choices. AncestryDNA takes your privacy seriously and it is at the core of the decisions AncestryDNA makes when providing you with this Service. Please read this AncestryDNA Privacy Statement and the AncestryDNA FAQs for more details.

AncestryDNA has received TRUSTe's Privacy Seal signifying that this privacy statement, our practices, and the Website have been reviewed by TRUSTe for compliance with the TRUSTe program viewable here or on the validation page available by clicking the TRUSTe seal. TRUSTe’s program does not cover information that may be collected through any downloadable software that may be available on our Website or from third party sites, which are covered by their own privacy statements, which you should review. If you have questions or complaints regarding our privacy statement or practices, please contact us at memberservices@ancestrydna.com. If you have an unresolved privacy or data use concern that we have not addressed satisfactorily, please contact TRUSTe here.

Ancestry, its Group Companies and service providers in the US and elsewhere, process and share the personal information of users from the European Economic Area subject to the standard model contract clauses approved by the European Commission.

This Privacy Statement should be read in conjunction with the AncestryDNA Terms and Conditions and, if you agreed to participate in the Research Project, the Informed Consent. Please note that to order an AncestryDNA DNA Test and gain access to the Results you need to have created and then logged into an Ancestry account, which will also be subject to the Ancestry Terms and Conditions and the Ancestry Privacy Statement which you should read. The Ancestry website is operated by Ancestry.com Operations Inc. ("Ancestry", and collectively, with its affiliates, subsidiaries, and group companies, the "Ancestry Group Companies").

1. What personal information does AncestryDNA collect?

We collect information we believe is necessary for our legitimate business interests. Here are some examples of the types of personal information we request or collect or you provide:

i) Name, contact information and payment details: AncestryDNA asks for your name, email address, and a password when you register for an account as well as when you sign in to use certain features, such as viewing your Results. In addition we may need to know your postal address and payment details to facilitate payment and fulfilment for any purchases you may choose to make through the AncestryDNA Website. The amount of other personal information you decide to submit to AncestryDNA and Ancestry is up to you but understand that your experience on the AncestryDNA Website may suffer if you choose to provide no additional information.

ii) Genetic information: This is generated when you submit a DNA sample and we perform the DNA Test. The resulting genetic information, including the Results, is kept by us or on our behalf by third parties with whom we contract. All DNA samples are stored either at the testing laboratory or other storage facilities and may be kept by us unless or until circumstances require us to destroy the sample or it is no longer suitable for testing purposes.

iii) Your background, interests, and family: As a user of the AncestryDNA Website, you can also choose to share certain information about yourself, such as your age, gender, background and interests with other Users, such as in your user profile and by inviting other Users to view or access your DNA Results. In addition, you can choose to link to your Ancestry.com family tree. The amount and type of information you share in this way is entirely your choice; remember sharing of information may often help you find additional relatives. See Managing your privacy settings below for more information on how you can edit or control what you allow other Users to see about you.

iv) Your opinions and comments: If you post any comments on the Website or participate in community discussions, blogs, chats, communications between us or between you and other Users, in disputes and while communicating with member services, AncestryDNA and/or Ancestry will capture that information. You should be aware that any information you provide in these areas may be read, collected, and used by others who access them. To request removal of personal information from our blog or community forum, contact us by the contact information below and we will consider it for removal.

v) Minors: The AncestryDNA Website and the Service are intended for adults. AncestryDNA relies upon parents or guardians 18 years of age or older to determine if the AncestryDNA Website and the Service are appropriate for use by individuals under the age of 18. When a minor uses the AncestryDNA Website and the Service, the parent or guardian of that minor will be held responsible for the minor’s actions and are deemed to have consented to the use of the minor’s information by Ancestry. By submitting a DNA sample of a minor, you represent that you are the minor’s parent, legal guardian, and/or have explicit permission from the minor’s parent or legal guardian. We do not knowingly seek or collect personal information from children under the age of 13. If AncestryDNA becomes aware that we have unknowingly collected personal information from a child under the age of 13, we will make commercially reasonable efforts to delete such information from our databases.

2. How does AncestryDNA use personal information?

When you provide us with any personal information, which includes your DNA sample, that personal information will be stored and processed in the United States of America and you specifically consent to the transfer, storage, and processing of that personal information to and in the United States, which you recognize may provide a different level of protection for personal information than in your country of residence. Subject to the restrictions described in this Privacy Statement and applicable law, we may use personal information for any reasonable purpose related to the business, including to communicate with you, to provide you information about Ancestry’s and AncestryDNA’s products and services, to respond to your requests, to update our product offerings, to improve the content and User experience on the AncestryDNA Website, to help you and others discover more about your family, to let you know about offers of interest from AncestryDNA or Ancestry, and to prepare and perform demographic, benchmarking, advertising, marketing, and promotional studies. In particular we may use personal information as follows:

i) To provide the Service: We primarily use personal information to provide you with relevant information such as the Results (including updates to your Results), the latest information about DNA Tests, informational updates that you have requested through the AncestryDNA Website, to help you and others discover more about your family, or to address customer service needs and requests. AncestryDNA may also use information to let you know about new features or other offers of interest from AncestryDNA or the Ancestry Group Companies. We also use personal information to fulfil the purposes for which you have provided the personal information, such as processing your order. See Managing your privacy settings below to learn how you can opt out or change your settings.

ii) Verification: We will use personal information to verify your identity so that you can carry out transactions through the AncestryDNA Website, such as changing your account information, retrieving a forgotten username or password, or completing financial transactions relating to payments you make online.

iii) For internal business purposes: In order to improve the AncestryDNA Website and the Service (or to develop new products and services), we may use personal information for internal data analysis, studying how the AncestryDNA Website is used, identifying usage trends and determining the effectiveness of promotional campaigns.

iv) To communicate with you: AncestryDNA may communicate with you for the purpose of informing you about changes to AncestryDNA or of any AncestryDNA-related products and services, potential genetic matches, and profile updates. Our communications with you will generally be via email, but may be made via telephone, direct mail or another method of communication in select circumstances. You may also receive special or promotional offers from AncestryDNA, Ancestry Group Companies, or third parties trusted by AncestryDNA or Ancestry. If you do not want to continue to receive promotional emails, you may opt out at any time by using the unsubscribe link listed in the email or see Managing your privacy settings below to learn how you can opt out or change your settings. If you wish to opt out of other methods of communication, please contact us by the contact information below.

v) To distribute advertisements: AncestryDNA strives to show relevant advertisements. To that end, AncestryDNA may use the information you provide to us, as well as any analyses we perform, aggregated demographic information (such as women between the ages of 45-60), anonymized data compared to data from third parties, or the placement of cookies and other tracking technologies (as discussed in more detail below in Section 6). In these ways, AncestryDNA can display relevant ads on the AncestryDNA Website, third party websites, or elsewhere. We do not provide advertisers with access to individual account information. AncestryDNA does not sell, rent or otherwise distribute the personal information you provide us to these advertisers unless you have given us your consent to do so.

vi) To perform research: AncestryDNA will internally analyze Users’ results to make discoveries in the study of genealogy, anthropology, evolution, languages, cultures, medicine, and other topics. In addition, if you voluntarily agreed to the Research Project Informed Consent we may use the Results and other information for the purposes of collaborative research and publication and in accordance with the Informed Consent.

3. Will AncestryDNA disclose personal information to third parties?

AncestryDNA will not disclose personal information to third parties except in very limited circumstances which are set out below. Before AncestryDNA begins to transfer personal information to any third party acting as our agent, we will confirm that they have adopted, are subject to, or are contractually obligated to comply with the principles and objectives of this Privacy Statement.

i) In these scenarios: Examples of the limited scenarios where AncestryDNA may disclose personal information to third parties are: (a) with your knowledge and any relevant consents (for example, when you decide to share your Results with others); (b) as described in this Privacy Statement; (c) as may be required by law, regulatory authorities,or legal process;(d) as permitted to protect the rights or property of AncestryDNA, Ancestry Group Companies or other Users (including outside your country of residence); (e) to enforce our terms and conditions; (f) to prevent fraud or cybercrime; or (g) to permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain.

ii) To Ancestry Group Companies: We may share personal information with Ancestry Group Companies so that they may provide services to AncestryDNA and you (including to communicate with you) as described in this Privacy Statement, or provide the additional services of those Ancestry Group Companies to you, and/or for the purposes of connecting you to Users of the other websites operated by the Ancestry Group Companies. The Ancestry Group Companies are subject to similar privacy statements, which you should review. Additionally, as our business continues to grow and change, we might restructure, buy, or sell subsidiaries or business units. In these transactions, customer information is often one of the transferred assets, remaining subject to promises made in then prevailing privacy statements. Also, in the event that AncestryDNA, or substantially all of its assets or stock are acquired, transferred, disposed of (in whole or part and including in connection with any bankruptcy or similar proceedings), personal information will as a matter of course be one of the transferred assets.

iii) To your potential relatives: If AncestryDNA (or one of the Ancestry Group Companies) determines that you have a potential relative, you may be matched with that potential relative through the Service. Those potential relatives will be able to see how you are matched (including relevant family tree and/or potential relatives) and, depending on your privacy settings, other personal information, such as your ethnicity regions, your display name, or other profile information.

iv) Third party service providers: Under the protection of appropriate agreements, we may disclose personal information to third party service providers we use to perform various tasks for us, including for the purposes of data storage, consolidation, retrieval, analysis, or other processing, as well as effective management of customer information and to help us communicate with you. For example, we use third parties to process payments from you and to help manage the AncestryDNA Website and relationships with you. For performing the DNA Tests or storing samples we may use approved specialized laboratories or storage facilities. These third-parties are only given access to that information needed to perform their services, and are prohibited from using it for other purposes. These third parties may include affiliated and unaffiliated service providers in in the United States, Europe and in other jurisdictions.

Please note: If you click away from our AncestryDNA Website to visit the site of any third party advertiser or sponsor, you may be asked for your payment card or other personal information in order to purchase or use the products and services that those third parties offer. These companies have their own privacy and data collection practices. We have no responsibility or liability for these independent third party policies. You should therefore review their privacy notices carefully if you have concerns about how personal information may be used. In addition, when you visit any other sections of the Ancestry.com website, you will be subject to the Ancestry Privacy Statement which you should review and understand.

4. Managing your privacy settings

You can find and manage the following privacy settings on the DNA Settings page, which you can access by going to the AncestryDNA status page and clicking the Settings link. Please see the AncestryDNA FAQs for more information on how to manage these privacy settings.

Email notifications for DNA matches: You can choose whether you want to be notified about possible DNA matches and, if so, how often.

Display Name: You can choose to display your real name or your Ancestry.com username to other Ancestry.com users.

Results (ethnicity) settings: You can choose to share your full ethnicity to other matches or only the ethnicity elements that are shared by potential matches.

Family tree linking: You can link your DNA Test or any other DNA Test activated under your Ancestry.com account to any family trees that you have created.

Sharing DNA results: If you are the Administrator of a DNA Test, you can choose to invite other Users to access your DNA Results, which will give those Users permission to see your DNA Results and, in certain cases, edit some of your information.

Manage ethnicity results shared links: You can see any links to your ethnicity estimates that you have shared with other users and, if you wish, delete any such links.

Download your raw DNA data: If you so choose, you can download your raw DNA data, the data that's generated in the lab from your DNA sample, before it is processed or "translated" into usable information for family history research. See the AncestryDNA FAQs for more information about downloading your raw DNA data.

Delete this Test from AncestryDNA: You can permanently delete your DNA Test from the AncestryDNA Website on the right-hand side of the Settings page, but once you delete the test, your DNA test will not be recoverable and this action CANNOT be undone.

Please note: in the event that you or we delete Results, copies of that information may remain viewable elsewhere to the extent any such copy has been shared with others and copied and stored. Additionally, we may retain certain information to prevent identity theft and other misconduct even if deletion has been requested. If you have given third party applications or websites access to information, they may retain that information to the extent permitted under their terms of service or privacy policies but they will no longer be able to access the information through our platform after you disconnect from them. Information that is removed or deleted may also persist in backup copies for a reasonable time for our internal business purposes but will not be available to you or others.

Ancestry.com Website Settings: Please click here to view and manage the below privacy settings on the Ancestry.com website:

  • Site / Community Preferences: this allows you to control the information that others in the Ancestry.com Community see about you, as well as the settings for hints that you want to receive from us.
  • Email Settings: this allows you to control what newsletters, updates, and marketing emails we send to you. You may opt out of receiving emails at all times.
  • Alerts: this allows you to control the email alerts that are sent to you, including a "DNA Alert" setting that will allow Ancestry to send you notifications for genetic matches, profile updates, and other DNA-related informational alerts.
  • Family Tree Settings: this allows you to control how others can view, access and/or edit any family trees you may create. Please click here for more information about tree settings.

There are also a number of default and other settings on the Ancestry family of websites that are there to improve your user experience as well as to protect your privacy. See the Ancestry Privacy Center for more information about Ancestry’s privacy philosophy and general approach on privacy.

5. Security

AncestryDNA places great importance on the security of all personally identifiable information associated with our Users. We have security measures in place to attempt to protect against the loss, misuse or alteration of User data under our control. For example our security and privacy practices are periodically reviewed and enhanced as necessary and only authorized personnel have access to personal information. We use secure server software to encrypt financial information you input before it is sent to us and we only work with laboratories and third parties who have met and commit to our security standards. While we cannot guarantee that loss, misuse or alteration of data will not occur, we use commercially reasonable efforts to prevent this. It is also important for you to guard against unauthorized access to your passwords and the unauthorized use of your computer.

6. What about Non-Personal Information, mobile data, and 'cookies'?

i) Non-Personal Information. Your use of the Service may result in the storage or collection of information that does not personally identify you (“Non-Personal Information”), such as demographic data, year of birth or age groups, geographic areas, gender and the fact that a DNA Test is attached to your account. This also includes computer-generated data that we automatically collect, such as your activities on the Website, the website from which you have come to the AncestryDNA Website, your Media Access Control address, your computer type, screen resolution, operating system version and Internet browser, as well as information based on your interaction with the Website, such as web log information, page views, and IP addresses on an anonymized basis. Non-Personal Information also includes personal information that has been aggregated in a manner such that the end-product does not personally identify you or any other user of the Website, for example, by using personal information to calculate the percentage of our users who have a particular telephone area code or who are female. We have to use your IP address, your device type, your website interactions, and other Non-Personal Information to deliver the Website and our Services to you and to help diagnose problems with our server. This technology helps us to, for example, compile aggregated statistics about our Users and their use of the Website. We use these statistics to improve the design and content of the AncestryDNA Website and to prepare and deliver our marketing programs. Because Non-Personal Information does not personally identify you, we may use Non-Personal Information for any purpose, including sharing that information with the Ancestry Group Companies and with other third parties. In some instances, we may combine Non-Personal Information with personal information (such as combining your name with your geographical location). If we do combine any Non-Personal Information with personal information, the combined information will be treated by us as personal information, as long as it is combined, and its use by us will be subject to this Privacy Statement.

ii) Mobile Data. If you access the AncestryDNA Website using a mobile device (e.g. your phone or tablet), we may collect mobile device identifiers such as the device type, IP address and the operating system. We use mobile analytics software to allow us to deliver you the AncestryDNA Website and the Service and better understand the functionality of the AncestryDNA Website and the Service. The AncestryDNA Website may also collect other non-personal information from your mobile device, such as your geographic location, with your permission.

iii) Cookies and other tracking technologies. We (either ourselves or our appointed third parties) may use cookies, beacons, tags and scripts to optimize and customize the AncestryDNA Website and your experience. These technologies and tags do not extract any private contact information or other personal information from your computer's memory, but rather record only limited information your computer sends us when you visit the AncestryDNA Website, such as IP addresses. In addition, these technologies may include de-identified demographic or other data linked to information you voluntarily submit to us (e.g., your email address), that are shared solely in hashed, non-human readable form. Cookies enable our server to recognize or "remember" who you are each time you return. AncestryDNA may make limited use of cookies to deliver content specific to your interests and measure advertising effectiveness for AncestryDNA, the Ancestry Group Companies and other organizations. For instance, they may be used to retain your personal preferences, hold session information for a "shopping basket," or save your password so it doesn't have to be re-entered each time you login. These technologies may also be used to see how you move around and interact with the AncestryDNA Website or may be used to show you relevant ads either on or off the AncestryDNA Website.

You can erase or block cookies from your computer if you want to (your help screen or manual should tell you how to do this), but the Service or portions of the AncestryDNA Website or the Ancestry.com Website may not work correctly or at all if you set your browser not to accept cookies. To learn more about our use of cookies and other tracking technologies please visit the Ancestry Privacy Center located here. To learn more about cookies in general, please click http://www.allaboutcookies.org/.

Please note that AncestryDNA allows third-party advertisers that are presenting advertisements for us to set and access their cookies or pixel tags on your computer or otherwise use Non-Personal Information. The advertisers' use of cookies and pixel tags is subject to their own privacy policies, not this Privacy Statement. Also, the Website may also include social media features, such as the Facebook “Like” button and widgets, such as the "Share this” button or interactive mini-programs that run on our site. These features may collect your IP address, record which page you are visiting on our site, or set a cookie to enable the feature to function properly. Social media features and widgets are either hosted by a third party or hosted directly on the Website. Your interactions with these features are governed by the privacy statement of the company providing it.

7. About our advertisements

AncestryDNA strives to show you relevant advertisements both on the Website and elsewhere on the Internet. AncestryDNA uses some third parties to show you AncestryDNA-related advertisements that are tailored to you based upon your interests or online behaviors. Any such targeted ads placed on our behalf will contain information on or near them that informs you about the third party delivering you the ads and how to opt-out of receiving such ads in the future. If you wish to not have information about your interests or behavior used for the purpose of serving you targeted ads, you may manage your choices here or if you want to learn more about targeted advertising, please visit our Privacy Center here.

Please note that opting out of targeted advertising will not opt you out of being served advertising. Because occasionally the AncestryDNA Website may be partially advertiser supported, you may not "turn off" the advertising that appears on AncestryDNA Website. You will continue to receive generic ads that may not be as relevant to you. Also, please note that if you delete, block or otherwise restrict cookies, or if you use a different computer or Internet browser, you may need to renew your opt-out choice.

8. Contests, surveys, and promotions

We may occasionally run contests, surveys, or other special promotions on the AncestryDNA Website in which we ask Users or visitors for contact information (like an email address or name) or demographic information (like a zip code, age, or income level). We use this data to run the contests or promotions and send Users promotional material about our company or third parties we deal with. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and you therefore have a choice whether or not to disclose this information. The participant's contact information is also used to contact him or her when necessary and may be shared with other companies for promotional purposes, but only with your prior permission and under the terms and conditions specified when you take part in the promotion. At any time, you may opt-out of receiving future mailings of this kind by following the unsubscribe instructions in each promotional communication, or simply decline to take part in the promotions.

9. Changes, updates, and consent

We are committed to complying with all applicable laws and regulations governing the collection and use of personal information. From time to time, AncestryDNA will review our personal information collection, use, and disclosure practices in order to assure that we are complying with our Privacy Statement and all applicable laws and regulations. If we decide to change our Privacy Statement, we will issue an updated version of this Statement with an updated date legend and/or notify you via email, via the Website or by other appropriate means prior to the change becoming effective if it is a significant change so that you will be aware of what information we collect, how we use it and under what circumstances we disclose it in accordance with applicable law. You should review this Privacy Statement regularly to ensure you are familiar with any changes to it. If you do not consent to any changes to our Privacy Statement and as a result you would like us not to use or hold personal information about you in accordance with the revised terms, you may notify us here so we can discontinue your account.

10. Contacting Us about Privacy

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, AncestryDNA’s privacy practices, or your dealings with the AncestryDNA Website, or wish to request access to and receive information about the personal information we maintain about you (note please that the right to access personal information may be limited in some circumstances), update and correct inaccuracies in the personal information we have about you, have the information blocked or deleted, as appropriate, or oppose (in case of legitimate reasons) the processing carried out with respect to personal information, you can contact us by either calling 1-800-958-9124 or emailing us at memberservices@ancestrydna.com. We will respond to all access requests within 30 days.

Official correspondence must be sent via postal mail to:
Ancestry.com DNA, LLC
Attn: Member Services
1300 W. Traverse Parkway
Lehi, UT 84043