23andMe launched its API program in 2012 to provide a secure way for customers to transfer their data to third-party applications if they choose. We opened our API to many different types of developers to allow customers to use their 23andMe data in new and different ways — beyond the information or applications we provide through our service. We hoped that many developers and companies would adopt the use of genetic information and integrate it into their products.
As the market has grown and consumer interest in genetics is increasing, so has developer interest in creating applications that utilize our API. While we have had some great app developers using our API program, there are others that do not meet our scientific standards and lack rigorous privacy policies. Because of this, we have decided to change our API program to have established standards around scientific integrity and privacy that app developers must meet before being accepted. This change will mean that most apps that currently use the API will be disabled and you will no longer be able to share your data directly from the 23andMe experience with these apps. We believe it is incredibly important to make sure our API is fostering an ecosystem that is based on solid scientific data with strong privacy and security protections. We do not want to endorse developers and companies that do not meet these high standards.
Shortly, we will publish clear criteria and principles for developers to participate in our API program. As an example, we want to ensure any app using our API to interpret health-related information has been scientifically validated and that app developers adhere to privacy policies that are in line with industry standards. Apps that use 23andMe genetic information must support any claims they make with appropriate medical or scientific data or literature, and be consistent with 23andMe-approved claims related to that information.
Our existing API will continue to support ongoing academic and research collaborations. In addition, our customers always have access to their raw data and can download and upload their files anywhere they want.
By making these changes, we believe this will build an ecosystem our customers can trust. There is an exciting world ahead where genetic information can help personalize products and become integrated into the healthcare environment. But to do that, we must lead with science and have standards that promote quality, privacy and security.
We look forward to working with developers as the world of genetic data and personalized information expands.