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Golden State Killer Suspect Was Caught Through Genealogy Data, Revealing the Pri

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  • Golden State Killer Suspect Was Caught Through Genealogy Data, Revealing the Pri

    Golden State Killer Suspect Was Caught Through Genealogy Data, Revealing the Privacy Risks of At-Home DNA Tests


    http://fortune.com/2018/04/27/golden-state-killer-dna-genealogy/

     

  • #2
    To be fair, I think you have to be pretty naïve to send in a DNA sample and NOT expect things like this to happen, especially in today's world.

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    • #3
      I think instead of privacy risks, this event shows the utility of DNA databases for public safety. I could see how you could be worried about your privacy, but this is not an example of someone's privacy being invaded inappropriately. If law enforcement has a warrant, and is using the data for an investigation, that seems pretty appropriate.

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      • #4




        I think instead of privacy risks, this event shows the utility of DNA databases for public safety. I could see how you could be worried about your privacy, but this is not an example of someone’s privacy being invaded inappropriately. If law enforcement has a warrant, and is using the data for an investigation, that seems pretty appropriate.
        Click to expand...


        Maybe I misread the article but they didn't have any such warrant. They took DNA from the crime scenes and basically ran it through a genealogy database and then was able to narrow it down to DNA his family members submitted. They then followed the guy and collected discarded DNA that they compared to the crime scene. Obviously, the genealogy company isn't coming forward because it would basically ruin their business.

         

        I don't fault the police for trying all of the avenues available to them. I fault whatever company let them use that information.

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        • #5







          I think instead of privacy risks, this event shows the utility of DNA databases for public safety. I could see how you could be worried about your privacy, but this is not an example of someone’s privacy being invaded inappropriately. If law enforcement has a warrant, and is using the data for an investigation, that seems pretty appropriate.
          Click to expand…


          Maybe I misread the article but they didn’t have any such warrant. They took DNA from the crime scenes and basically ran it through a genealogy database and then was able to narrow it down to DNA his family members submitted. They then followed the guy and collected discarded DNA that they compared to the crime scene. Obviously, the genealogy company isn’t coming forward because it would basically ruin their business.

           

          I don’t fault the police for trying all of the avenues available to them. I fault whatever company let them use that information.
          Click to expand...


          I think its more the fault of people putting the literally most sensitive and dense personal information on the internet freely accessible. Its crazy what people are willing to expose about themselves without thinking of any of the consequences and for what, to get politically charged memes from grandma? No thanks, I can get those at thanksgiving.

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          • #6
            They may have found the match on another site, but even though 23andme and Ancestry denied involvement, it's hard to believe that the police weren't searching on the most popular databases.

            Is there anything the sites can do to stop this?  As long as the police have DNA from the crime scene and a match from a suspect that was obtained legally, I can't see why the search from the genealogy site would come up in court.  And even if consumers tried to opt out of letting their DNA be matched by law enforcement, how would the sites know law enforcement is conducting the search?  Anyone with more legal expertise have any thoughts?

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            • #7




              They may have found the match on another site, but even though 23andme and Ancestry denied involvement, it’s hard to believe that the police weren’t searching on the most popular databases.

              Is there anything the sites can do to stop this?  As long as the police have DNA from the crime scene and a match from a suspect that was obtained legally, I can’t see why the search from the genealogy site would come up in court.  And even if consumers tried to opt out of letting their DNA be matched by law enforcement, how would the sites know law enforcement is conducting the search?  Anyone with more legal expertise have any thoughts?
              Click to expand...


              The companies are supposedly the only ones with access to the DNA. I haven't used one of those sites but how I *think* it works is that you submit your DNA sample and it gives you possible family members based on the DNA. Based on my reading of how it went down is that the police was given access to the database to do their search. They didn't submit the crime scene sample as a user. They then used the information to search the family tree to narrow down their suspects. Once they got it narrowed down, they followed the guy and then collected their own DNA sample of him.

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              • #8
                Just yesterday my mother in law got a call from a “2nd cousin” of a father she never met after this person found a match with my wife. I’m still trying to wrap my head around that.

                My family also found out my great grandmother had an affair and child out of wedlock so my grandmother found out after 85 years that her dad wasn’t Truly her dad just months before she died. Weird stuff.

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                • #9
                  I don't see anything wrong with this.  The police could have submitted the DNA sample as a user, and searched that way, even if they didn't do it that way in this case.  Perhaps this will become a problem in the future, but it's not fundamentally different that the police finding a fingerprint at the scene and matching it to prints in a data base.   I was fingerprinted as part of my medical licensing process, so I'm vulnerable to a fingerprint search.  This is not fundamentally different, as long as personal DNA medical records are not being searched.  When DNA samples are taken at birth and made available for purposes outside of medical care we will have a problem.  That day may come but we are not there yet.

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                  • #10
                    That's surprising if true.  It would be an enormous risk with little upside for a site to allow access to the police without a warrant.  Though it looks like Ancestry has done that before:

                    https://mashable.com/2016/03/26/law-enforcement-dna-databases/#__K7VDqiEgqd

                     

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                    • #11




                      I don’t see anything wrong with this.  The police could have submitted the DNA sample as a user, and searched that way, even if they didn’t do it that way in this case.  Perhaps this will become a problem in the future, but it’s not fundamentally different that the police finding a fingerprint at the scene and matching it to prints in a data base.   I was fingerprinted as part of my medical licensing process, so I’m vulnerable to a fingerprint search.  This is not fundamentally different, as long as personal DNA medical records are not being searched.  When DNA samples are taken at birth and made available for purposes outside of medical care we will have a problem.  That day may come but we are not there yet.
                      Click to expand...


                      There's a slight difference.  When you submit your fingerprints, you should recognize that it could be used to tie you to any crimes that you commit.  That's similar to DNA, and you don't have much to worry about if you're not a criminal.  But law enforcement can't use your fingerprints to determine that your Dad is a serial killer.  I can see more unintended consequences with submitting your DNA.

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                      • #12


                        There’s a slight difference.  When you submit your fingerprints, you should recognize that it could be used to tie you to any crimes that you commit.  That’s similar to DNA, and you don’t have much to worry about if you’re not a criminal.  But law enforcement can’t use your fingerprints to determine that your Dad is a serial killer.  I can see more unintended consequences with submitting your DNA
                        Click to expand...


                        That's a good point, and I hadn't considered that distinction, but that worries me even less.  I don't mind if my DNA is used to catch other people.

                        If a family member was a serial killer, and I knew, I would like to think that I would turn them in.  So if my DNA is used to catch them without my direct participation, so much the better.  After all, if DNA is involved in the crime, it's unlikely to be a minor "white collar" offense.

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                        • #13







                          I don’t see anything wrong with this.  The police could have submitted the DNA sample as a user, and searched that way, even if they didn’t do it that way in this case.  Perhaps this will become a problem in the future, but it’s not fundamentally different that the police finding a fingerprint at the scene and matching it to prints in a data base.   I was fingerprinted as part of my medical licensing process, so I’m vulnerable to a fingerprint search.  This is not fundamentally different, as long as personal DNA medical records are not being searched.  When DNA samples are taken at birth and made available for purposes outside of medical care we will have a problem.  That day may come but we are not there yet.
                          Click to expand…


                          There’s a slight difference.  When you submit your fingerprints, you should recognize that it could be used to tie you to any crimes that you commit.  That’s similar to DNA, and you don’t have much to worry about if you’re not a criminal.  But law enforcement can’t use your fingerprints to determine that your Dad is a serial killer.  I can see more unintended consequences with submitting your DNA.
                          Click to expand...


                          Agree with that difference.  But while I am relatively anti-nanny state and lean towards libertarian, I am firmly anti-crime.  If the Gov can use DNA to help catch the guy who stole my car or the person that vandalized my rental property, please do so.  Same for public cameras, etc.  And doubly so for violent crime.

                          I haven't followed the specifics of this case, but let's not forget the guy still gets a trial.  DNA is simply one piece of this.

                          Now, if he is convicted...we can turn back to financial topics (cost to taxpayers to care for him for the rest of his life, reimbursement rates from Cal Dept of Corrections, etc).   

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                          • #14
                            Those of you who think this is perfectly fine, just don't get it. This isn't about the one guilty person they catch. It is about the ten innocent people placed under a cloud of suspicion.

                            We used to live in the freest nation in the world with the highest individual liberty. We were unique in that the constitution and the bill of rights guaranteed us protections no one else in the world had.

                            Those of you who think the end justifies the means. I give you the case of Michael Usry Jr. and many others who have been falsely accused. Check this link HOW SAFE IS YOUR DNA?

                            This man has had his life torn apart. Even though ultimately Michael Usry Jr's DNA was proven 100% to NOT be a match and the Idaho police unequivocally exonerated him. There are many people in this country like that Pyschopath Nancy Grace think any person of interest must be guilty no matter what evidence there is to the contrary.

                            The sad reality is that individual rights and liberties have been seriously eroded over the years. A little quiz, who said; "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

                            I for one am not going to enter my DNA into a database that can cause a third cousin twice removed to come under suspicion for a crime they did not commit.

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                            • #15
                              I agree with spiritrider and the Ben Franklin quote. I haven't had the opportunity to really sit down and think long and hard about this but on first blush, I think I'm against it.

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