Privacy Policy

Last Updated: November 21, 2016

Your privacy is a top priority to Helix. We recognize how important it is to keep your information secure and confidential. Privacy matters for all of your information, and in particular your Genetic Information.

This Privacy Policy describes the types of information we collect from you. We collect data from you in three situations. First, we collect data from you when you visit the Helix website. Second, we collect data from you when you establish an account to receive our Services. Third, we collect data from you based on your use of our Services. This Policy also describes how we use, maintain, protect, and disclose the data that we collect from you.

We are committed to protecting your information through our compliance with this Privacy Policy. By accessing or using our Services, you accept our practices described in this Privacy Policy. If you do not agree with our practices and policies, you can choose not to access or use our Services. Capitalized terms not defined in this Privacy Policy have the same meaning as in Helix’s Terms of Service.

What information do we collect?

We collect several types of information from and about users of our Services.

Account and Personal Demographic Information.

  • Account Information. You must provide certain information when you create an account (“Account Information”) to receive our Services. This information includes your name, email address, date of birth, biological sex (for quality control when sequencing), phone number, the password you create, and credit card or other payment information. Your account information also includes records and copies of any correspondence with you and details of any transactions you carry out through our Services.
  • Self-Reported Information. Helix works with third party Partners that provide DNA Products to you through the Helix Platform. Helix or our Partners may ask you to provide data about yourself (your “Self-Reported Information”), including demographic data such as personal and family medical history, age, physical features such as eye or hair color, or self-declared ethnicity. The Self-Reported Information may be used in the interpretation of your Genetic Information. It may also be used for ongoing quality control and improvement. Both of these uses will be in accordance with our Terms of Service and Helix Platform Consent. You do not have to provide this information to use the Services. Some Partners’ DNA Products may require this information for purposes of interpreting your Genetic Information, but it is up to you whether to purchase these DNA Products and provide this information. However, you may not be able to purchase certain DNA Products if you do not provide this information.  If you provide Self-Reported Information to Helix, we may share this information with certain Partners with your permission to facilitate their DNA Products and related services.

Genetic Information. You may provide us with a biological sample, using our DNA Collection Kit, to allow us to generate Genetic Information for you. In connection with our Services, Helix collects, processes and stores this Genetic Information.

Computer, Device and Browsing Information. As you interact with our Services online (including the Site and Helix Platform), we may use automatic data collection technologies to collect certain information about your equipment, browsing actions and usage patterns. This data may include details like these:

  • Details of your visits to our Services, which could include:
    • the resources that you access and use on the Services;
    • the external sites that referred you to our Services; and
    • the external sites that you visited just after visiting our Services.
  • Information about your computer or device and internet connection, which could include:
    • your IP address or other device ID;
    • your operating system; and
    • your browser or device type.

The information we collect helps us to improve our Services. It also helps us to deliver better and more personalized features to you, including by enabling us to recognize you when you return to our Services, store information about your preferences and customize our Services according to your individual interests, administer a survey or other feature of our website, provide targeted advertising, estimate our audience size and usage patterns, and monitor the success of our marketing activities.

The technologies we use for this automatic data collection may include cookies. You may refuse to accept browser cookies through your browser settings. However, if you select this setting, you may be unable to access certain parts of our Services. Unless you set your browser to refuse cookies, our system may issue cookies when you direct your browser to our Services.

Gifts. If you have purchased a product as a gift for someone else, any information you provide about the gift recipient will be used only as needed to deliver the gift. Your gift recipient must create their own account. Helix will not share any personal information of the gift recipient with you.

Minors. Our Services are not intended for anyone under 18 years of age. No one under age 18 may provide any personal information via our website. We do not knowingly collect personal information from someone under 18. If you are under 18, do not register on our website or provide any information about yourself to us. If we learn we have collected or received personal information from someone under 18, we will delete that information. If you believe we might have any information from or about someone under 18, please contact us.

How Do We Use Your Information?

Helix will use information that we collect about you or that you provide to us, including any personal information, only as described in this Privacy Policy:

To provide and improve our Services. We primarily use your information to present and provide you our Services and its contents to you. This includes the following:

  • providing you appropriate search results and personalized content;
  • processing your purchases;
  • verifying your identity;
  • recognizing you when you return to our Services;
  • providing you notices about your account;
  • notifying you about updates or changes to our Services or any services we offer or provide through it; and
  • providing you with information or services that you otherwise request from us.

To improve our Services or to develop new products and services, we may use your information as follows:

  • to track your usage of our Services;
  • administer a survey;
  • perform quality control and quality improvement activities;
  • conduct data analysis about our audience size and usage trends;
  • conduct marketing campaigns and targeted online advertising (subject to your browser cookie settings); and
  • monitor the success of our marketing activities.

With your consent. With your consent, as described in the Helix Platform Consent, we do the following:

  • collect and process your saliva sample;
  • sequence your DNA;
  • store your resulting Genetic Information;
  • store any DNA sample that is left over after we sequence it; and
  • share your relevant Account Information, Genetic Information and Self-Reported Information with a Partner to fulfill your purchase of their DNA Product.

Recruitment for research. We do not share your Genetic Information or Self-Reported Information with third parties without your consent. However, we may inform you of third party research opportunities that you may be eligible for based on your Genetic Information or Self-Reported Information. We may also invite you to participate in future Helix research.  All research opportunities will be completely voluntary, and we will ask for your consent before we use or share your information for Helix research or third party research. Consistent with Helix Marketplace Policies, all research whether through Helix, Partners, or other third parties, will be subject to review and approval by a qualified Institutional Review Board (IRB). Whether you take part in any research efforts will not impact your experience with DNA Products you have purchased.

In the following two subsections, we describe how we use your Genetic Information and Self-Reported Information in particular:

Genetic Information. The first time you choose to purchase a DNA Product on the Helix Platform, Helix generates and stores your Genetic Information from the sample you provide. For each DNA Product you purchase, you consent to allow Helix to share the portion(s) of your Genetic Information needed for that Partner to provide you the product. Your Genetic Information will be shared with a Partner solely to allow the Partner to perform the DNA Product’s genetic interpretation and assessment. The Partner’s own privacy policy will govern the Partner’s collection, use, processing, storage, disclosure and transfer of your Genetic Information. You should review the Partner’s privacy policy with care before you purchase their DNA Product. The Partner and not Helix is responsible for maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of any Genetic Information you authorize Helix to share with the Partner once the Partner receives it.

Your Genetic Information may be combined with that of other users as “Pooled Genetic Information.” Pooled Genetic Information does not include any data that would reasonably permit someone to identify you individually. Helix may use Pooled Genetic Information for its internal business purposes, such as to improve our products, data quality and laboratory processes. Pooled Genetic Information may also be used for our promotional purposes. This could include describing users of our Services in general terms (e.g., “50% of our users are female” or “on average our users have 2% Neanderthal DNA”).

Self-Reported Information. Genetics is not deterministic. Many traits are also influenced by non-genetic factors, as discussed in our Terms of Service and Helix Platform Consent. Your Self-Reported Information may be used to improve interpretations of your genome.

When Do We Share Your Information?

We may share grouped, de-identified information about users (including Pooled Genetic Information) and usage of our Services publicly. We may also share these data with our Partners.

We will share your Genetic Information and relevant Account Information and Self-Reported Information with our Partners only after you have explicitly authorized us to do so as part of purchasing a DNA Product on the Helix Platform. We will only share the Genetic Information needed to provide the DNA Product, not the complete set of your Genetic Information. We enter into a written agreement with each Partner that requires the Partner to do the following:

  • maintain the confidentiality and security of the Genetic Information, Account Information and Self-Reported Information shared with them; and
  • use the Genetic Information, Account Information and Self-Reported Information only for the specific purposes that you have authorized.

We may disclose Account Information, Self-Reported Information and information about your usage of our Services  other than your Genetic Information only in the following circumstances:

  • To contractors, service providers and other third party vendors we use to support our business (such as for payment processing and DNA Collection Kit shipment), and who are bound by contractual obligations to keep personal information confidential and use it only for the purposes for which we disclose it to them.
  • To advertising service providers that we permit to collect non-personally identifying information from you when you visit our Site and other websites, in order to show ads for our Services that we think may be of interest to you after you visit our Services. If you do not wish to receive our personalized ads, you can visit the opt-out pages of the Network Advertising Initiative (https://www.networkadvertising.org) or the Digital Advertising Alliance (http://www.aboutads.info) to learn about how to opt out of receiving personalized ads from their member companies.
  • To a buyer or other successor in the event of a merger, divestiture, restructuring, reorganization, dissolution or other sale or transfer of some or all of Helix’s assets, in which personal information held by Helix about our users is among the assets transferred. This Privacy Policy would continue to apply to information collected while it was in place.
  • If we believe disclosure is necessary or appropriate to protect the rights, property, or safety of Helix, our users or others. This includes exchanging information with other companies and organizations for the purposes of fraud protection and credit risk reduction.

We may also disclose your personal information, including your Genetic Information:

  • To comply with a valid court order, law or legal process, provided that we will not disclose your Genetic Information without a valid subpoena or search warrant specific to your Genetic Information. If we are required to disclose your information, we will do our best to provide you with notice in advance, unless we are prohibited by law from doing so.
  • To enforce or apply our Terms of Service and other agreements.

Other than as described above, we will never provide your information to anyone for any purpose under any circumstances.

What Choices Do You Have About How We Use and Share Your Information?

We strive to provide you with choices about the information you provide to us. We have created mechanisms to give you the following controls over your information:

Tracking Technologies. You can set your browser to refuse all or some browser cookies, or to alert you when cookies are being sent. If you disable or refuse cookies, please note that some parts of our website may not be accessible or not function in the proper way.

Promotional Offers from Helix. If you do not wish to have your contact information used by Helix to promote our Services or those of our Partners, you can opt-out by changing your account settings. You may not be able to opt out of receiving certain Service-related emails, such as communications about orders, billing, account creation, registration and policy updates. If we have sent you a promotional email or other informational email not related to your order or account, the email will have an “unsubscribe” feature that will allow you to opt-out of receiving future email distributions.

Sharing Information with Partners. We will not provide your Genetic Information and relevant Account Information and Self-Reported Information to any Partner until you have agreed to allow the Partner to receive and use such information. Information that has been shared with a Partner based on your consent will be subject to that Partner’s privacy policy. It is important to review the privacy policies of our Partners so that you can make an informed choice about products you purchase and the information you share. You may choose to stop sharing your information with a given Partner in your Helix account settings at any time.

Sharing Genetic Information with Others. It is your choice to decide whether and with whom to share your Genetic Information. This Privacy Policy focuses on how Helix handles your Genetic Information to protect your privacy. However, you may also choose to share your Genetic Information with others yourself. You should be careful about doing so. Genetic Information you share with others could be used against your interests. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”) protects your Genetic Information from use by group health insurance providers and employers. However, GINA does not apply to disability insurance, life insurance or long-term care insurance providers. Some states have protections for those types of insurance, so you should be aware of the laws in your state. If you choose to share your Genetic Information with these insurance providers, you do so at your own risk. Genetic Information that you choose to share with your health professional may become part of your medical record. That means it could be accessible to other health professionals and possibly health insurance providers in the future.

How Do You Access, Correct or Delete Your Information?

In General. You may contact Helix Customer Care to request access to, correct or delete any personal information that you have provided to us. We may not accommodate a request to change information if we believe the change would violate any law or legal requirement or cause the information to be incorrect. Information that has already been de-identified and/or aggregated (including Pooled Genetic Information) may not be retrievable or traced back for correction or removal from any database.

Account Closure. You may also close your Helix Account through your account settings. If you close your Helix Account, we will remove your registration information and user profile from the Site. In addition, we will remove your Genetic Information from your account, and you will no longer have access through the Site or Services to your Genetic Information. Genetic Information and Self-Reported Information for which you have given consent to use in any research studies cannot be withdrawn or removed from ongoing or completed studies that use your information. Please be aware that we cannot reverse the removal of your Genetic Information from your account. After removal of your Genetic Information, you will not be able to purchase any DNA Products from the Helix Platform without creating a new account and providing a new saliva sample.

After you close your Helix Account, we retain some Account Information in your account related to your purchase history. This enables us to provide you ongoing support regarding your prior purchases, and is also necessary for accounting, audit and compliance purposes. We may also retain backup copies and archival files of your information to satisfy our state and federal legal obligations or regulatory requirements, including those set by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA). However, we will not share your information with any Partner or third party, except for information that has already been shared with your consent.

Information (including your Genetic Information) that has been shared with a Partner with your express consent will be subject to such Partner’s privacy policy. If you choose to stop sharing your information with a given Partner in your account settings, Helix will inform that Partner of your request, but cannot guarantee that the Partner will remove, de-identify or delete your information. You can request such removal, de-identification or deletion directly from the Partner.

Biological Sample. After your initial DNA sequencing, we do not store your saliva sample. Therefore, we cannot return your sample to you. Some of the DNA extracted from your sample may be left over after we sequence your DNA. If any is left over, we will store such DNA. We will use stored DNA for internal quality control and improvements. If possible, we may use this DNA to offer you new or improved sequencing services. This may mean that we store this DNA indefinitely.  However, you can request that we destroy your stored DNA by contacting Helix Customer Care.

How Do We Keep Your Information Secure?

We limit access to your information to Helix’s employees and contractors who we believe need access to it to provide Services to you or to do their jobs. In addition, we put in place industry standard physical, technical, and procedural safeguards designed to secure your Account Information, Self-Reported Information, Genetic Information and any other personal information from accidental loss and from unauthorized access, use, alteration and disclosure.

The transmission of information via the internet cannot be guaranteed to be 100% secure. We continue to evaluate and identify improved security techniques to protect your personal information. However, we cannot guarantee that your information will not be accessed, altered or lost through a breach of any of our physical and electronic safeguards. We also cannot guarantee a Partner’s ability to secure and protect your information. You should review each Partner’s privacy policy and security practices with care before you purchase their DNA Product.

Changes to Our Privacy Policy

We post any changes we make to our Privacy Policy on this page. If we make material changes to how we treat our users’ personal information, we will notify you by email to the email address specified in your account. You are responsible for ensuring we have an up-to-date, active and deliverable email address for you. You are also responsible for visiting our Services and this Privacy Policy from time to time to check for any changes. All changes are effective immediately when we post them, and they apply to all access to and use of the Services from that point onward. If you use our Services after we make changes to our Privacy Policy, you acknowledge and agree to the current version of the Privacy Policy.

Questions or Comments

To ask questions or comment about this Privacy Policy and our privacy practices, you may contact Helix Customer Care here or call 1-844-211-2070.