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Feb 11, 2021

Florida Bill Would Classify ‘DNA Theft’ as a Felony Property Crime

Two new bills filed in the Florida state legislature may have a major impact to genealogists. The sponsor of the proposed bill states “Collection and testing of someone else’s genetic data without consent is a cutting-edge problem this bill will solve in the state of Florida.”

Will this include “collecting the DNA” of someone else’s DNA from web sites, such as GEDmatch, Family Tree DNA, and others to be illegal? I am not an attorney nor have I seen the text of the proposed bill so I cannot answer that question but it does cause me to wonder.

According to an article by John Haughey published in The Center Square website:

Florida in 2020 became the nation’s first state to enact a “DNA privacy” law prohibiting life, disability and long-term care insurance companies from using genetic tests for coverage purposes.

Companion 2021 Senate-House bills would also establish a national first for Florida within the rapidly expanding realm of genetic privacy policy legislation and regulation: Felony criminal penalties for “stealing” or using someone’s DNA data, like any other personal property, without their consent.

Sen. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, filed Senate Bill 1140 and Rep. Josie Tomkow, R-Polk City, introduced House Bill 833 Monday. Both would prohibit collection or retention of DNA samples, and the analysis and disclosure of results, without authorization, with criminal penalties for specified violations.

“I’m proud to sponsor this legislation in the Senate that will help take DNA privacy protections a step further in our state,” Rodrigues said. “Collection and testing of someone else’s genetic data without consent is a cutting-edge problem this bill will solve in the state of Florida.”

“There will be serious criminal penalties in Florida for these actions,” Tomkow vowed. “It will not be tolerated.”

Both bills would make submitting another person’s DNA sample for analysis without their permission, or knowingly conducting an analysis of DNA without the person’s permission, a third degree felony.

Further details may be found at: http://bit.ly/2MWBC4T.

My thanks to newsletter reader Walter Wood for telling me about this article.

Feb 11, 2021

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