Police use of DNA leads to backlash in database

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — After California detectives used a popular online DNA database to track down a suspect in the decades-old Golden State Killer slayings, other police agencies quickly adopted the same technique.

Since that case was cracked last year, at least 50 other killings and rapes have been solved nationwide by using partial DNA matches to find suspects’ relatives, whose identities can lead to arrests. But complaints about invasion of privacy have produced a backlash, leading the Florida-based database known as GEDmatch to change its policies.

The nonprofit website’s previous practice was to permit police to use its database only to solve homicides and sexual assaults. But its operators granted a Utah police department an exception to find the assailant who choked unconscious a 71-year-old woman practicing the organ alone in church. The assailant’s DNA profile led detectives to the great-uncle of a 17-year-old boy. The teen’s DNA matched the attacker’s, and he was arrested.

GEDmatch soon updated its policy to establish that law enforcement only gets matches from the DNA profiles of users who have given permission. That closed off more than a million profiles. More than 50,000 users agreed to share their information — a figure that the company says is growing.

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11 Responses to Police use of DNA leads to backlash in database

  1. crazyeighter says:

    So if my kid has a DNA test, his mom and me are screwed.

  2. Padawan says:

    23 and Me and that other one like them I can’t think of off the top of my head at the moment share your DNA with whomever they feel like…whether you want them to or not

  3. SgtBob says:

    Police will ignore some laws until sued. In police ethics, privacy applies only to their actions, aka “secrecy.”

    • carolinaTURTLE says:

      Yes SgtBob, let’s allow a rapist or murderer to not get caught… with rapists it’s pretty much guaranteed to continue until they are caught…

      • ChuckN says:

        A) DNA is only supporting evidence, it alone cannot get someone a prison sentence as long as the lawyer has passed the 4th grade. B) We see all of the time (twice this week alone right here on Knuckledraggin) that lawyers and judges have no compulsion about dropping charges or releasing violent offenders for no reason at all. C) Having a ready made database of DNA that can be searched at will by a government agency is the reason thinking like ‘if you’ve got nothing to hide why worry about privacy” exists. D)Read up on current research in bio-enginneering. Stealing someone’s DNA is next on the list of ways to falsify identity. It’s is projected that withing the next 10 years manufactured DNA will be planted at crime scenes (if it hasn’t happened yet). https://spectrum.ieee.org/biomedical/devices/dna-manufacturing-enters-the-age-of-mass-production

        So yeah, a DNA database and free license for any agency (or anyone period) to view should panic everyone.

        • arc says:

          Sometimes, one of my hairs gets snatched up by packing tape, not to mention my finger prints are usually on it. I doubt its all that hard to get hair from a salon or barber shop. I refuse to use these genetic data stealing services, its just a back door for a national DNA database. Of course uncle sam already got all my shit. If I knew I had to give up finger prints, dna swabs, and let some old guy check out my ass, I would have never signed the contract.

          Genetic and biometric information should never ever be used to put people in prison.

  4. Judy says:

    I’m totally amazed that people don’t think through the consequences of having such vital information available to every government agency. Because I can guarantee it will be misused.

    • crazyeighter says:

      They’re probably the same people that can’t understand why we don’t want to register our guns.

  5. De Oppresso Liber says:

    People better start reading the TOS for these DNA test. You have practically NONE, when it comes down to it.

    Not only that you SPECIFICALLY wavier your relatives RIGHTS when you do it. That is how they come up with these matches.

    I’ve done geneaolgy research for years and wouldn’t take one of these test for anything, no matter what.

  6. Rob in Katy says:

    Wait, you just now found IMAO? I have been there since the dark days, maybe before. I wish I had sent you the linky.

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