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Group Project Administrator Terms & Policies

Thank you for choosing to become a Group Project Administrator! Whether you are creating a Group Project (hereafter called “project” or “groups”) or joining an existing project as a new Group Project Administrator, this an exciting opportunity to make discoveries not available via traditional genealogical records or with individual test results.

A successful and enjoyable project benefits Group Project Administrators and Co-Administrators (hereafter called administrators), Project Members (hereafter called “members”), as well as FamilyTreeDNA but is a serious responsibility as it involves access to members’ personal information including contact details and DNA test results. In order to protect everyone involved, FamilyTreeDNA requires administrators to follow standards of ethical conduct as specified in this agreement.

These terms and policies constitute an electronic agreement that establishes the legally binding terms you must accept to become and remain an administrator. Administrators are volunteers and this agreement does not establish an administrator as having legal rights, responsibilities, or liabilities as an employee or contractor.

You cannot be a Group Project Administrator if you do not accept these Terms. The following terms, as well as our Privacy Statement, and Terms of Service, apply to all administrators of a Group Project. You are responsible for ensuring that your Group Project complies with all applicable laws, statutes, and regulations.

  1. General Policies for Group Projects & Administrators

    1. Misleading or false pages: Group pages must not be misleading, fraudulent, or deceptive.
    2. Incentivization: Administrators must not incentivize people to misuse FamilyTreeDNA features or functionality.
    3. Facilitate and advise members:
      1. Administrators agree to facilitate communication to benefit genealogical research between members and others, subject to Section 8 of these Terms.
      2. Administrators will also advise members whether or not an upgrade or additional test would, in their opinion, benefit their research or that of the project.
      3.  Administrators will treat each project member and potential project member fairly and equally.
    4. Right to be forgotten: GDPR requires that an individual be able to request that their data be removed, known as either the “right of erasure” or the “right to be forgotten.” See Sections 4 and 5 of this document.
  2. Group Project Transparency

    Group Project Administrator Information:

    1. On project pages, display the first and last name the administrator uses to communicate with project members.
    2. Keep email address current. If the email address changes, update information in Group Administrator Pages (GAP) as soon as possible, preferably within a few days.
    3. A list of all administrators, along with their projects, will be displayed publicly, as administrators may be able to view project members’ matches who are not members of that project.
  3. Collection of Member Information

    1. Collecting Data from Members: If you collect content and information directly from members, you must make it clear that you (and not FamilyTreeDNA) are collecting it. You must provide notice about and obtain member consent for your use of the content and information that you collect as well as comply with local laws including GDPR, if relevant, on how you process this information. Regardless of how you obtain content and information from members, you are responsible for securing all necessary permissions to reuse their content and information.
    2. Automated Collection of Data: You must not collect member information using any automated means (such as harvesting bots, robots, spiders, or scrapers).
  4. FamilyTreeDNA Hosted Group Platform & Pages

    Group Project web pages are hosted on FamilyTreeDNA servers at no cost to administrators. These web pages can be set up using the template and tools provided on the Group Project Administrator Pages with no programming knowledge necessary.

    1. Group Project Administrator Pages: FamilyTreeDNA provides Group Project Administrator Pages (GAP), a web-based interface for accessing and managing members’ results, to all administrators. Group Project Administrators are authorized to use the GAP subject to the conditions in these terms. You must not allow your access to the GAP to be used by anyone else. In particular, the personal data accessible only through the GAP, such as email addresses and/or other identifying or personal information, must not be shared with other members of the project or with any other individual without the member’s express written consent. An important administrator feature in GAP is the ability to group members’ results into subgroups. This feature allows administrators to organize member results in a manner that helps members see how they fit into the project.
    2. Group Project Pages: These pages allow members and the public to better understand the project goals and the research to which they are contributing, view results, and facilitate member communication.
  5. Externally Hosted Group Project Pages

    While we do not recommend this, if an administrator chooses to host a Group Project-related website at any location that is not the myGroups FamilyTreeDNA-hosted website, it must follow the same standards as the FamilyTreeDNA-hosted pages.

    You acknowledge that FamilyTreeDNA is not responsible or liable for any member information you share outside of FamilyTreeDNA-hosted group pages and you are doing so at your own risk.

    1. If member information is shared anywhere outside of FamilyTreeDNA, you are required to:
      1. Conform to the FamilyTreeDNA privacy assurances;
      2. Specify that the information is from FamilyTreeDNA;
      3. Regularly update any information being displayed, noting the date of your last update to the results;
      4. Promptly update the information of any project member that changes their privacy and sharing settings;
      5. Promptly remove member information upon their exiting of a Group Project or a direct request from the member to remove such information and, in any event, within the 30 days required by the GDPR.
    2. Any information shared outside of FamilyTreeDNA must never:
      1. Include “guarded” DNA results such as the mtDNA Coding region, Factoids, and myOrigins results;
      2. Show any additional Genetic Information not already shown on the Group Project pages without the express written consent from that project member.
  6. Security & Privacy

    Administrators have access to data and contact information of the members who have joined the project. This access is necessary to assist participants in understanding, interpreting their results, and achieving the goals of the project. FamilyTreeDNA considers the protection of members’ privacy and confidentiality a key responsibility.

    1. All Administrators are required to:
      1. Keep your computer(s) and devices containing personal data password protected;
      2. Keep any files containing member contact information separate from files containing pseudonymized DNA test results;
      3. Reformat computer disc drives or other electronic media that have held project member information such that it cannot be recovered, compromising the privacy of the project members, after the administrator no longer owns the computer or electronic equipment.

    Projects and administrators are subject to compliance with the European Union General Data Protection Regulation, which can be found at and in the Official Journal of the EU.

  7. Administrator Access Levels

    Administrators have access to data and contact information of the members who have joined the project. This access is necessary to assist participants in understanding, interpreting their results, and achieving the goals of the project. FamilyTreeDNA considers the protection of members’ privacy and confidentiality a key responsibility.

    1. Minimum (required): Grants the access required to manage the Group Project. “Minimum” access provides the ability to utilize tools, specifically built for administrators, which allow them to view certain results in relation to how members match each other. The administrator will not have access to a member’s FamilyTreeDNA pages under this access level.
    2. Limited: In addition to the capabilities given in “Minimum,” “Limited” access grants the administrator the ability to visit a member’s personal FamilyTreeDNA pages to view Genetic Information along with certain Personal Information that may support project research.
    3. Advanced: In addition to the capabilities given in “Limited,” “Advanced” access grants the administrator the ability to co-manage a member’s account, including but not limited to ordering tests for a member’s kit and modifying Personal Information with the exception of the account’s primary email address and password. For more specific details on Group Project Administrator Access Levels, visit the Group Administrator Access Levels and Permissions page in the Help Center.
    4. Additional Access: Project members will have the option to share the coding region of their mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) with administrators on their Privacy & Sharing tab.

    Administrators wishing to purchase a test for a member to whose account they do not have “Advanced” access must contact us with the request at A FamilyTreeDNA representative will contact the user directly to ask for permission.

  8. Group Project Administrator Use of Projects and Member Information

    1. Administrators of a project agree to never:
      1. Share their administrator username or password with anyone, not even another administrator.
      2. Share, display, or publish kit numbers or other alphanumeric sequences alongside the full name of any project member or in any other way compromise the pseudonymization of the DNA test results of any FamilyTreeDNA customer. If an administrator discovers anyone sharing, displaying, or publishing a kit number alongside a full name of a FamilyTreeDNA customer, they should report this immediately to
      3. Use the Join Request feature for any other purposes than solely accepting a request for someone to join your project or for explaining the criteria to join your project. If the requester does not join the project, their email address should not be used for any other purpose.
      4. Use a DNA project to advocate a political agenda.
      5. Use a DNA project to promote a personal, business, or commercial interest such as publishing a book on genealogy that draws on the findings of a Group Project without first obtaining explicit written approval from FamilyTreeDNA.
      6. Reverse engineer, hack, scrape, or otherwise attempt to exploit real or potential security flaws in the website.
      7. Change the name of the Group Project without prior permission from FamilyTreeDNA.
      8. Charge a fee for participation in the group project or access to a project website. If the project is sponsored by a family association that charges a fee, it must be clear to members that they do not have to belong to the family association to be in the project. Those members who are not in the family association must be treated the same as those who are.
      9. Use foul, demeaning, objectionable, defaming or discriminatory language when addressing project members, other administrators, FamilyTreeDNA employees, or when referring to FamilyTreeDNA products.
    2. Administrators agree to never use their access to member data to:
      1. Publicly display, share, or change the contact information of any project member, including their full name (first and last, or first, middle, and last), email addresses, physical and mailing addresses, and phone numbers, without explicit permission from the member in writing or by email. However, full names and email addresses may be shared amongst matches on the condition that the relevant kit numbers are not shared in correlation with one another.
      2. Share results with administrators of Group Projects of which the tester is not a member without prior written permission from the tester or kit manager.
      3. Publish research or information that may disclose or identify a member’s personal information without the express written consent of the person tested.
      4. Store any member’s email address in the same file as their test results per GDPR requirements.
      5. Use member information or research for any commercial purpose without express written consent.
      6. Use member information or email address to send any correspondence unrelated to the project.
      7. Post guarded DNA results to a public website or otherwise make them public. Guarded DNA results include mtDNA Coding Region results, Factoid results, and myOrigins results.
  9. Project Members Leaving Groups

    We recognize the right of project members to leave a Group Project at any time. We require administrators to do likewise.

    We will notify you when a project member leaves a project or opts out of public sharing. When so notified, you must erase all of the member’s public-facing information from any website, other than FamilyTreeDNA, without undue delay and within 30 days of notification.

  10. When to Contact FamilyTreeDNA

    Please contact the Group Project Administrator team, or refer project members to the team for:

    1. Questions relating to the member’s rights under the GDPR.
    2. Queries in a language with which you are unfamiliar.
    3. If you do not know the answer to their question.
    4. Questions about your role or responsibilities.
    5. Potential website and/or security problems. Please report these issues to FamilyTreeDNA immediately. 

    You may contact the Group Administrator team at or call 713-868-1438 and choose the “Group Administrator” option.

  11. Communication

    Communication is a critical element of a DNA project, and FamilyTreeDNA expects timely communication from administrators. Please reply to messages from the FamilyTreeDNA staff in a timely manner. Failure to do so may result in suspension or removal.

    Group Project Administrators must respond to queries from project members in a timely fashion. Queries covered under GDPR must be answered within 30 days of receipt of the request. Such queries include but are not limited to requests to remove information from an external web page managed by the project.

  12. Group Continuity

    FamilyTreeDNA understands that personal circumstances and interests change. If an administrator has lost interest in or can no longer manage a project, it is recommended to communicate this to project members, fellow administrators, and FamilyTreeDNA staff so that another administrator can be recruited if one is needed. However, there is no guarantee that a replacement can or will be found.

  13. Termination or Suspension of Your Privileges

    We have the right to limit, suspend, or terminate your Group Projects or access to Group Projects if you violate or act inconsistently with the spirit of our Terms and Policies. In such a case, you do not have the right to a refund for any purchases you made in the role of administrator.

  14. Modifications to Terms & Policies

    We reserve the right to modify these terms and policies at any time. We will notify you 30 days in advance of any material changes by posting information through the Services or via email. Changes that are a result of new functions in the Services or that are made for legal reasons will be effective immediately. You acknowledge and agree that your use of the Services, after the date on which these terms and policies have been modified, will be treated as your acceptance of the updated terms and policies.

  15. Limit of Liability

    Within the limits allowed by applicable laws, you expressly acknowledge and agree that FamilyTreeDNA shall not be liable for any indirect, direct, incidental, consequential, special, or exemplary damages, including but not limited to, damages for goodwill, loss of profits, use, data or other intangible losses (even if FamilyTreeDNA has been informed of the possibility of such damages), resulting from your use of and access to member information as an administrator.

    FamilyTreeDNA’s only responsibility with regard to any action or activity by an administrator who violates or breaches these terms and policies is, at FamilyTreeDNA’s discretion, to admonish or remove the administrator from his or her administrative role.

  16. Arbitration

    We want to keep our users and administrators to be satisfied. If a dispute arises between you and FamilyTreeDNA, our objective is to provide a speedy and cost-effective means of resolving the dispute. If you have any concerns or disputes about the Services, you agree to first try to resolve the dispute informally by contacting us. For more information about arbitration see Section 23 of our Terms of Service.

  17. Entire Agreement

    These Terms, including all rules, policies, guidelines, and other documents incorporated herein by reference, state the entire agreement between you and FamilyTreeDNA regarding your use of the Services and Group Projects.

    All Group Project Administrators and Co-Administrators must agree to and follow these guidelines as well as all of the FamilyTreeDNA Terms of Service and Privacy Statement.

    This document forms a contract between the individual, known as the Group Project Administrator or Co-administrator, who agrees to the terms outlined in this document, and FamilyTreeDNA.

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