Menu

Genetic and COVID-19 Testing Companies Set To Be Regulated in California

Cybersecurity and Privacy   |   Health Care   |   September 3, 2020
Download   
Share Page

In the last days of the most recent legislative session, the California State Legislature was busy passing several privacy bills set to impact businesses. The most recent, the Genetic Information Privacy Act, would require companies that sell and market consumer-focused genetic testing products directly to consumers (including COVID-19 testing companies) to comply with certain privacy requirements.

If signed by Governor Newsom, the Genetic Information Privacy Act will require the following:

  • Adequate Notice. Companies must provide privacy policies that make it clear what data the company is collecting, using, maintaining, and disclosing regarding the consumer’s genetic data.
  • Express Consent. Express consent for the collection, use, and disclosure must be obtained for each activity for which the genetic data will be used, such as related marketing activities.
  • Revocation of Consent. Consumers must be given a meaningful way to revoke consent for the use of their genetic data.
  • “Reasonable Security” Emerges Again. Companies collecting, using, and disclosing genetic data must employ “reasonable security” measures – a term of art also found in the California Consumer Privacy Act.
  • Consumer Access Request Mechanisms. Consumers have to be afforded mechanisms to access their data, delete their data, and destroy the biological sample from which their genetic data was obtained.
  • Discrimination for Exercise of Rights Barred. Businesses cannot discriminate against consumers who exercise their privacy rights.

The responsibilities set upon businesses and the rights afforded to consumers reflect a pattern emerging in consumer privacy legislation, most notably, the California Consumer Privacy Act, which went into effect on January 1, 2020, and into full enforcement on August 14, 2020.

The Act goes further to ensure that consumers’ genetic data will not be disclosed to health insurers, insurance providers, or employers who may make decisions regarding provision of coverage or employment to an individual consumer.

With the adaptation and growth of testing companies that have emerged in the wake of COVID-19, established businesses and startups alike must heed this new regulation.


©2020 Carlton Fields, P.A. Carlton Fields practices law in California through Carlton Fields, LLP. Carlton Fields publications should not be construed as legal advice on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general information and educational purposes only, and should not be relied on as if it were advice about a particular fact situation. The distribution of this publication is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship with Carlton Fields. This publication may not be quoted or referred to in any other publication or proceeding without the prior written consent of the firm, to be given or withheld at our discretion. To request reprint permission for any of our publications, please use our Contact Us form via the link below. The views set forth herein are the personal views of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the firm. This site may contain hypertext links to information created and maintained by other entities. Carlton Fields does not control or guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this outside information, nor is the inclusion of a link to be intended as an endorsement of those outside sites.

Subscribe to Publications

Disclaimer

The information on this website is presented as a service for our clients and Internet users and is not intended to be legal advice, nor should you consider it as such. Although we welcome your inquiries, please keep in mind that merely contacting us will not establish an attorney-client relationship between us. Consequently, you should not convey any confidential information to us until a formal attorney-client relationship has been established. Please remember that electronic correspondence on the internet is not secure and that you should not include sensitive or confidential information in messages. With that in mind, we look forward to hearing from you.