Genetic information could soon be protected from Nebraska police, employers

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Websites like Ancestry, 23andMe and MyHeritage collect genetic data through their services.

Currently, there are few restrictions on how those companies collect, analyze, store, share and sell that information, according to State Sen. Eliot Bostar.

Legislative Bill 308, which was introduced by Bostar, is aimed at putting restrictions in place.

The proposed law was discussed Tuesday afternoon in the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee meeting at the State Capitol.

If passed, the Genetic Information Privacy Act would prevent companies from sharing genetic data with insurance companies, employers or marketers without a customer’s consent.

Bostar’s bill would also require a legal process before any data is handed over to law enforcement.

Richie Engelhardt, head of government affairs at Ancestry, and Jane Seu, legal counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska, spoke in support of the bill.

“Medical and genetic information can reveal some of the most personal and private data about us, and maintaining control over that data is crucial,” Seu said.

No one came to testify against the bill.

Similar legislation has already been passed in six other states, Bostar said.

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