ORIG3N’s Ravens DNA Test Promotion Will Harm NFL Fans Privacy & Security

Image Credit: Mr. Schultz CC 3.0.

Biotech company ORIG3N has a very troubling NFL game day promotion at the Baltimore Ravens stadium this coming Sunday.  According to The Baltimore Sun (I am quoted), the Ravens promotion will enable those attending the game to order a “free” DNA tests for several genes.

There is no such thing as a “free” DNA test. In order to take advantage of the offer you need to create a digital account with ORIG3N.  If you review ORIG3N’s Privacy Policy  you will notice it states, “We use User information for the following purposes:

  • To share User information with third parties, including for marketing or other purposes.”

This means ORIG3N may sell your personal information to data brokers (e.g. Equifax), advertisers, insurance companies, etc. who will use your personal information to discriminate against you. This in turn will make you an easier target for digital price discrimination (e.g. higher prices for goods and services on  Amazon.com, Walmart.com, etc..), and insurance companies may raise your premiums or deny you coverage.

ORIG3N’s Terms of Service state:

“UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL YOU BE ENTITLED TO RECOVER FROM US ANY INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, INDIRECT, PUNITIVE OR SPECIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING DAMAGES FOR LOSS OF BUSINESS, LOSS OF REVENUE, LOSS OF DATA, OR LOSS OF USE), WHETHER BASED ON CONTRACT, TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE), OR OTHERWISE ARISING FROM OR RELATING TO THIS AGREEMENT, THE SERVICE OR OUR PROPERTY, EVEN IF WE HAVE BEEN INFORMED OR SHOULD HAVE KNOWN OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.

TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW, OUR MAXIMUM AGGREGATE LIABILITY TO YOU FOR ANY DAMAGES ARISING FROM OR RELATING TO THIS AGREEMENT, THE SERVICE OR OUR PROPERTY, WHETHER BASED ON CONTRACT, TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE), OR OTHERWISE, SHALL BE LIMITED TO THE AMOUNTS PAID BY YOU TO US FOR THE SERVICE IN THE PRIOR YEAR (OR, IF YOU ARE A NON-FEE PAYING USER, TO THE AMOUNT OF $10).”

and

“Indemnity. You will indemnify us, and our licensors, providers and agents, against any and all claims, actions, proceedings, suits, liabilities, losses, damages, costs, expenses and attorneys’ fees (“Liabilities”) arising out of or related to your breach of this Agreement or your use of the Service (but excluding any Liabilities to the extent caused by our negligence or willful misconduct). We reserve the right to assume the sole control of the defense and settlement of any claim, action, suit or proceeding for which you are obliged to indemnify us. You will cooperate with us with respect to such defense and settlement.

Without limitation of the foregoing, if we receive a subpoena or similar requirement to disclose Your Content issued by any court or governmental authority, and we are not a party to the proceeding in question, you will reimburse us for our reasonable costs and expenses of complying with such subpoena, including time spent by our personnel and our attorneys at time and materials rates.”

Furthermore, ORIG3N has the right to keep your results and personal information forever and you are not allowed to sue ORIG3N if it releases your genetic results against your wishes to a third party. Instead, you must agree to arbitration in Boston.  Multiple investigative reports have proven that the arbitration system is rigged against consumers. Arbitration is so bad for consumers that the federal Consumer Financial Protection Board is moving to try to ban these clauses in consumer agreements.

Its possible that the Baltimore Police or the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) demands that ORIG3N provide the personal information of all NFL fans who participate in this promotion. How can I make this claim? DOJ is currently suing a web site host to turn over the IP addresses of everyone who visited an anti-Donald Trump website to try to find some people who may have participated in an anti-Donald Trump demonstration.  Whats even more troubling is if law enforcement requests your DNA results under ORIG3N’s unethical terms of service NFL fans are required to reimburse ORIG3N for the legal expenses it incurs to respond. This may cost each NFL fan thousands of dollars.

As a sports, privacy, and tech lawyer who started his professional career at the NFLPA (the union that represents NFL players), and a Baltimore NFL fan my entire life, I am very troubled by this promotion. I doubt the Baltimore Ravens marketing team read ORIG3N’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Service because if they did I am confident they would not have agreed to the promotion.

The bottom line is that ORIG3N’s “free DNA” promotion is a major security, privacy, and safety risk for NFL and Baltimore Ravens fans. Its a Trojan Horse that will put your personal privacy, security, safety, and future at risk. It may cost you tens of thousands of dollars in irreversible economic damages and harm your family. I encourage Baltimore Ravens fans to channel your best Nancy Reagan impersonation on Sunday and JUST SAY NO to ORIG3N’s “free DNA test” promotion.