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Senator Calls for Answers from 23andMe CEO Over Data Breach

 |  October 22, 2023

Senator Bill Cassidy, the leading Republican on the U.S. Senate’s health committee, has urged 23andMe’s CEO, Anne Wojcicki, to provide critical information to the Senate Health Committee after a breach of data from the popular family genetics website was advertised on the dark web.

Expressing his concerns in a formal letter, Senator Cassidy, who holds the position of Ranking Member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, requested detailed information regarding the recent data breach. Earlier this month, a hacker advertised 23andMe data, raising alarm bells across the board. However, 23andMe clarified in a statement that their own systems had not been compromised during this incident.

According to 23andMe’s official statement, the hackers managed to access specific data, which included user names, gender, birth years, geographic locations, photos, health records, and genetic ancestry results. Some of this pilfered data was reportedly found in a database labeled “Ashkenazi DNA Data of Celebrities,” allegedly containing the information of prominent individuals, including CEOs of major technology companies.

Senator Cassidy expressed concerns about the potential misuse of this genetic information, especially in the context of the growing global issues of antisemitism and anti-Asian hatred. He voiced worries that foreign governments, hate groups, and other malicious actors might exploit this sensitive data to discriminate against and target minority groups.

In his letter to 23andMe’s CEO, Cassidy seeks detailed information about the data breach, including how the hackers gained access to the data, the measures the company is taking to notify the affected individuals, and their strategies to protect the privacy and security of users’ information in the future. This incident has underscored the need for robust safeguards against data breaches and misuse of personal genetic information.

Source: Help Senate Gov