Thursday, August 23, 2018

23andMe restricting access to its API, used to support third party apps

I just received this in an email:

Dear Victoria, 

We're writing to let you know about changes we’re making to the 23andMe API program that may impact you. 

Our records indicate that you (or someone within your shared account), chose to share your 23andMe results with one or more third-party apps via our 23andMe API. You can check to see which apps you've connected with in your 23andMe settings

Moving forward, we’ve decided to restrict our API to only work with select applications that will use the data based on 23andMe reports to bring added value to your overall experience. Based on these changes, in two weeks, we will be disabling other apps' ability to access your data using the 23andMe API, and any features in those third-party apps that rely on your 23andMe data may no longer work. 

If you would like any app to continue to have access to your 23andMe results during this transition period, you'll need to re-authorize the app to access your data. Please contact the developers of the specific apps if you have questions about specific integrations. We’re sorry for any inconveniences this might cause. 

Sincerely, 
The 23andMe API Team


23andMe originally opened access to data six years ago through what is called an API, or Application Programming Interface. This allows third party apps to gather data and use it in the app. 

In genealogy software, this is used for things like syncing trees between a program and an online tree (e.g., Ancestry.com trees). 

23andMe had a problem in the 2015 when with a third party developer demonstrated an app that would use DNA data to block or allow access. The example shown determined whether someone had enough European ancestry, i.e., were white enough.

That is not why 23andMe is doing this, however, it really is necessary as they transition to more of a medical report and research based platform.