Genealogy: Read the fine print of website terms, terms of service and privacy policies | the life of the valley


It seems that over the past decade, Ancestry has been embroiled in one controversy after another.

The last is to quietly change their terms of service to make sure they own everything you have and will never put on the site, forever. And they retroactively claimed that perpetual, irrevocable ownership, without the consumer ever having a chance to make an informed decision about the content they added years ago.

On August 3, 2021, Ancestry’s Terms of Service were updated to include the following. (I underlined some sentences in this quote):

“.. by submitting User-Provided Content through any of the Services, you grant Ancestry a perpetual right [forever], sublicensable [they can sell it to any entity choose], worldwide, non-revocable [you can’t change your mind], Royalty-free [they won’t pay you for the use of your pictures and information] license to host, store, copy, publish, distribute, provide access to, create derivative works of [they can sell your family’s story and profit off these works], and otherwise use such User Provided Content to the extent and in the form or context we deem appropriate on or through any media or medium and with any technology or device now known or subsequently developed or discovered [wow]. This includes the right for Ancestry to copy, display, and index your User-Provided Content. Ancestry will own the indexes it creates.

This sparked an immediate uproar as just three days later Ancestry slightly revised that statement to allow the user to choose to delete anything they put on Ancestry at any time, thereby removing Ancestry from it. ownership of files that have been deleted. But if you leave content on Ancestry, they still own it.

Ancestry added this paragraph on August 6:

“Notwithstanding the non-revocable and perpetual nature of this license, it ends when your User-Provided Content is removed from our systems. Please be aware that to the extent that you have chosen to make your User-Provided Content public and other users have copied or saved it to the Services, this license continues until the content has been removed at both by you and other users.

This is all similar to the controversy that Ancestry sparked a few years ago when it said it owned and controls in perpetuity and irrevocably the DNA results you submitted for analysis, and Ancestry asserted the right. share your results with other entities such as law enforcement. , insurance companies or research and development companies.

I myself have never used Ancestry for anything other than research. I never posted anything on it. Still, people on Ancestry have posted some of our family photos that I have either left with these people (to themselves) or they’ve taken down a non-ancestry website that I may have posted.

What about situations like this? Ancestry has photos that I never gave permission to have because someone else posted them.

And then there’s Find a Grave, which started out as a site where everyone continued to own their own photos and could post or delete them as they pleased. When it was taken over by Ancestry, Find a Grave users were told that Ancestry now owns their content and photos.

Some people have no problem with all of this, but what I’m seeing is a huge international profit driven company rewriting its terms of service to profit rather than respect its customers. This company now “owns” our family photos, our heritage, our stories and our DNA. Forever.

Ultimately, before you get involved with websites and DNA testing, read the fine print – terms of service and privacy policies – and if you don’t like what you read, post on another. site, take a different test.

Freedom of choice only exists if you exercise your choice with informed consent.


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