Discussion in 'General Information & Discussion' started by PastTense, May 20, 2019.
Did New DNA Rules Just Freeze Out Cold-Case Murder Investigators?
It's rather boggling that private companies set the rules regarding how police use their database. One company has different rules than another.
There ought to be clear legal protocol for accessing DNA data from companies such as GEDmatch. The legal system should set the rules, not the private companies.
For a different perspective on this issue, try this article: DNA privacy questioned as police nab suspects by searching family trees
"[...] Even in cases where a website warns users that their genetic information may be shared with police, Paterson said, it means someone’s third cousin may be consenting on their behalf.
"In Canada, there are strict rules for good reason around the use of genetic information in the National DNA Data Bank, which limits samples to individuals convicted of certain crimes and regulates their use by police, he said.
"In contrast, he said American detectives appear to be fishing for suspects through genealogy sites that store genetic information.
"“They’re basically throwing a net in the sea and asking these companies what they might come back with,” he said."
This doesn’t surprise me at all. When you submit your data, you should have the choice to opt in or opt out. I had to for the 23andMe Kit. If there’s a close enough connection to a family, it’s not going to stop an investigation. It’s simply going to slow it down but not for long tho.
Let’s say there are 3 siblings and each have 2 kids. Total of 6 kids. One sibling opts in, & a niece or nephew opts in. If someone in that family committed a crime, LE will still arrive on the same path, they just won’t get as close. At that point, they go back to good old fashioned detective work.
Ultimately it is up to GED match what their terms are and of course you should have a choice. Many people on those sites lie about their identity anyway. Personally, I am involved with the technology that is used to complete the high throughput sequencing that makes these sites possible and I would opt in. People have been taught to believe that there is a great danger of persecution from their genetic information. However, this is a much lower risk than some appreciate. We are learning that there are many layers of regulation that control if a gene ultimately ends up being expressed. Having a gene doesn't tell you as much as you think it would. Surprisingly few absolutes have been discovered- i.e you have this gene therefore you have this disease etc... I think people should be far more concerned with what they freely give out over the internet. One need only look at this site to realize just how much we can learn about a person in 30 minutes of sleuthing their SM.
I was saddened to see that GedMatch requires you to opt-in for police searches, rather than opting-out. Many many people upload to GedMatch, look at the results, and then never return, so the pool of people that have opted-in is going to be very small.