Government-approved Covid testing firm faces watchdog probe over plans to sell swabs with customers’ DNA for medical research

Covid-19 testing firm is under investigation after it said it planned sell DNA samples from customers to third parties for research.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the UK’s data privacy watchdog, said it would ‘look carefully’ at information gathered about Cignpost Diagnostics over its plans to sell customers’ swabs.

The company, which was among the Covid test providers approved by the Government this year, had spoken of its plans to sell the sensitive medical data in order to ‘learn more about human health’. 

But those booking Covid tests with the firm, which trades as ExpressTest, were not clearly told their swabs could be sold to ‘collaborators’ working with the company or independently, including universities and private companies, for medical research.

They were instead asked to agree to a privacy policy which linked to another document outlining the firm’s ‘research programme’.  

It is not yet clear how many swabs Cignpost Diagnostics, which is reported to have delivered up to three million tests since it was founded in June, have kept or if any have been sold for research purposes.

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Author: HP McLovincraft

Seeker of rabbit holes. Pessimist. Libertine. Contrarian. Your huckleberry. Possibly true tales of sanity-blasting horror also known as abject reality. Prepare yourself. Veteran of a thousand psychic wars. I have seen the fnords. Deplatformed on Tumblr and Twitter.

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