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  #11  
Old 1st May 2018, 10:15 AM
mccunney mccunney is offline
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For a thoughtful discussion of the ethical issues involved, see http://www.legalgenealogist.com/2018...na-china-shop/

Excerpts:

As with all of our research that discloses information about living people, the hallmark of ethical DNA testing is informed consent. People have to know (or at least have the opportunity to know) in advance what their test results may be used for. Nobody I know uploaded their data to GEDmatch knowing that it could be used by police to look for suspects in criminal cases.

And it’s even more unsettling that this was done without a search warrant, without court approval, without oversight of any kind. There are laws in place in many states — including in California — that require the police to get court approval — a warrant, based on probable cause — even to search their own law enforcement databases when what they’re trying to do is find familial DNA (a link to the criminal through the use of the DNA of a family member).

Because some genealogical databases like GEDmatch are open to the public, it may be legal to search them for evidence in a criminal case… but what’s legal isn’t always what’s right.

DNA testing for genealogy has always been like a china shop. I think of the DNA results — the links that allow us to reconnect our families — as delicate and priceless vases on glass shelves.

Right now, there’s a bull loose in that china shop.

At this beginning of this hard discussion that our community must have, my own view is … we’d better start figuring out how to rein that bull in before those often irreplaceable vases are broken, forever.
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  #12  
Old 1st May 2018, 12:51 PM
Frederator Frederator is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mccunney View Post
For a thoughtful discussion of the ethical issues involved, see http://www.legalgenealogist.com/2018...na-china-shop/. . .
If you have concerns about the ethics of police departments, the answer to that is making judges more accountable to voters.

But the article you posted here didn't strike me as all that insightful. There was no meaningful discussion of how Gedmatch was actually used in this case, leaving room for some serious misunderstandings.

The history of this cases is that the police tested DNA samples from the crime scene, created a Gedmatch profile accordingly, and followed up with people on the resulting match list to arrive at clues as to the perpetrator's identity. Two important points utterly neglected in your article:

-The police apparently did not violate any regulation regarding the sampling of DNA at a crime scene, or at least no such accusation has been made. If you have information to the contrary, please explain.

-The police apparently applied no coercive measures to obtain co-operation from the people on this match list. Again, if you have information to the contrary, please present it, because this article does not.

Beyond this, it needs to be kept in mind that in order to be admitted into evidence, there are very specific rules surrounding the sampling, chain of custody, testing and analysis of DNA.

For instance, the judge would laugh at anybody attempting to submit, as evidence for a suspect's presence at a crime scene, a Gedmatch match list from that suspect's 3rd cousin twice removed, as you are apparently imagining. In fact, given that kits submitted to Gedmatch are self-reported, and tested by labs that don't necessarily have the required state certification for use in legal cases, even a Gedmatch kit which appears to be a 100% match with the police reference sample would not be admitted into evidence.

Rather, as all media accounts have already stated, the police instead obtained a DNA sample directly from the identified suspect, presumably processed in the manner required by law. If it was not processed according to law, that is something the defense can raise in court, and in any case, nothing at all to do with Gedmatch.

I honestly don't see much that any reasonable person could object to about Gedmatch's role in these proceedings. If people find it disturbing that they could be questioned by police related to a case in which a close relative is a suspect, they need to be aware that this possibility has always existed, well before the invention of DNA analytical technology.

If people are concerned about potential abuse of the technology by police, then they should become more politically engaged with the selection of police chiefs and judges, to ensure that rules regarding court use of DNA are reasonable and enforced.

Because there are two things that I can guarantee you will never happen: Humanity will not abandon DNA technology, and you will never be able to preclude the possibility that some unknown relative of yours will participate in genetic genealogy.
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  #13  
Old 1st May 2018, 01:06 PM
John McCoy John McCoy is offline
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Originally Posted by Frederator View Post
Because there are two things that I can guarantee you will never happen: Humanity will not abandon DNA technology, and you will never be able to preclude the possibility that some unknown relative of yours will participate in genetic genealogy.
... or, a third possibility, that some unknown relative of yours will never participate in some horrendous crime!
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  #14  
Old 1st May 2018, 01:15 PM
Frederator Frederator is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John McCoy View Post
... or, a third possibility, that some unknown relative of yours will never participate in some horrendous crime!
Yes, that is a horrific possibility, but one that is in no way dependent on the use of DNA technology. People learn to live with it. It's no reflection on the innocent relatives.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woody_Harrelson
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  #15  
Old 1st May 2018, 08:00 PM
DRNewcomb DRNewcomb is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mccunney View Post
No. I am concerned that users may not wish to participate in the DNA testing community if law enforcement can access the data. ......
I'm actually more concerned about people looking for a way to seek legal vengeance their sperm donor because they have some genetic disorder, than I am about law enforcement trying to track down murders and rapists.
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  #16  
Old 2nd May 2018, 07:11 AM
Jim Barrett Jim Barrett is offline
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Originally Posted by DRNewcomb View Post
I'm actually more concerned about people looking for a way to seek legal vengeance their sperm donor because they have some genetic disorder, than I am about law enforcement trying to track down murders and rapists.
Of course they "should" have to prove the sperm donor knew he had the genetic disorder at the time of the donation.
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  #17  
Old 2nd May 2018, 08:46 AM
DRNewcomb DRNewcomb is offline
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Originally Posted by Jim Barrett View Post
Of course they "should" have to prove the sperm donor knew he had the genetic disorder at the time of the donation.
The problem is the hassle of defending yourself against such a claim, even if false. I guess the best defense is to be indigent. If you have no money, no one will bother suing you. I did query all my siblings, before I submitted my sample, if they knew of any potential surprises. They admitted to none but I still chose to remain anonymous until I saw that the nearest match was a 2nd cousin.
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  #18  
Old 2nd May 2018, 09:32 AM
Frederator Frederator is offline
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Originally Posted by DRNewcomb View Post
I'm actually more concerned about people looking for a way to seek legal vengeance their sperm donor because they have some genetic disorder. . .
I think this gets filed under the "I didn't ask to be born" category of frivolous lawsuits which, if not immediately thrown out for a laughable lack of justiciability, will have a defendant certain to provoke a sympathetic response on any crowd funding platform.

The more serious long-term concerns will be when (not if) private insurance companies eventually apply advanced data-farming methods to DNA information to justify extortionate premiums and denying customers coverage.

America is a very backward country that has reduced Capitalism to a form of neofeudalism that wastes all its time and money creating new problems while ignoring legitimate, impending ones.
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  #19  
Old 26th May 2018, 06:32 PM
susan_dakin susan_dakin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mccunney View Post
No. I am concerned that users may not wish to participate in the DNA testing community if law enforcement can access the data. Here is a link to a poll conducted by a local TV station that shows about 3 people in 4 are less likely to use a DNA testing service if law enforcement can access it: https://www.facebook.com/wten.albany...60552720235195
Law enforcement is not "accessing the data." They're just looking at lists of matches and posted family tree, not the DNA results themselves. They're doing the same thing as any of us, looking at matches for clues to try to find relatives. I think this is a wonderful and very worthwhile use of autosomal DNA testing, and it certainly should not stop anyone from testing or sharing their results unless they are murderers or rapists or are trying to protect relatives who are.
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  #20  
Old 26th May 2018, 07:03 PM
msc_44 msc_44 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by susan_dakin View Post
Law enforcement is not "accessing the data." They're just looking at lists of matches and posted family tree, not the DNA results themselves. They're doing the same thing as any of us, looking at matches for clues to try to find relatives. I think this is a wonderful and very worthwhile use of autosomal DNA testing, and it certainly should not stop anyone from testing or sharing their results unless they are murderers or rapists or are trying to protect relatives who are.
If they are ftdna would lose all of there customers everyone would jump ship
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