With the dramatic rise in Direct-to-Consumer Genetics has come increasing concern for the potential abuse of consumer health data, often presumed confidential. Companies exchange and monetize their customers’ DNA in a competitive marketplace, obtaining consent through complex legal contracts that consumers must sign. However, drawing on ethnographic data, we show that this consent is rarely “informed.” Particular concerns include lack of contractual knowledge, misunderstanding of the potential benefits and risks, privacy, and low genetic literacy.

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