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Ancestry.com Hands Over Client DNA Test Results to Cops Without a Warrant

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  • Ancestry.com Hands Over Client DNA Test Results to Cops Without a Warrant

    This is just not good.

    FROM A REASON.COM ARTICLE:
    "So it is with considerable dismay that I read the Electronic Frontier Foundation's report which details how Ancestry.com turned over client genetic test results to police in Idaho without requiring a warrant."

    "The cops then asked, not only for the “protected” name associated with that profile, but also for all “all information including full names, date of births, date and other information pertaining to the original donor to the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy project.”

    Apparently the original donor was not a genetic match to the person who committed the crime. It was a relative of the OD.

    It's a really bad precedent, and just wrong, to hand over someone's DNA tests results, to law enforcement without getting a warrant first.

    This sets me against ever giving Ancestry access to my DNA.

  • #2
    There was a court order. Judy G. Russell, who blogs as The Legal Genealogist, explains that issue here:
    http://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog.../facts-matter/

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    • #3
      Thank you for the link. That clears things up considerably. It's difficult enough to get cousins to test (even paying for the tests) without false information being spread around.

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      • #4
        The actual news article (I urge you all to read it) shows just how much we have to fear.

        - "Colleen M. Fitzpatrick, a well-known forensic genealogist, said a partial match of 34 of 35 alleles is 'very close to a 100 percent' indication that the donor of the semen is an Usry." This is utterly incompetent. Sorenson uses only the slower markers. FTDNA's set of 37 markers includes some very fast ones; but even so, a 35/37 FTDNA "match" may have a TMRCA of 5000 years ago. One member of my project, who is R-U106, has a 35/37 match with someone who is R-L21.

        - "But, she added, 'that doesn’t mean that many people wouldn’t find it surprising — and troubling — to know that a DNA swab they sent in for recreational purposes' could years later land their child in an interrogation room." No fooling, Sherlock. Very few elderly people will let their DNA be tested if by doing so they will be causing legal bills for innocent children and jail time for guilty ones. And as a modern prosecutor might say, "Everyone commits three felonies a day."

        - "'They told me that it was not, in fact, about a hit-and-run,' Usry said." In other words, police lied to Mr. Usry in order to trick him into entering a high-pressure situation without a lawyer present. This is morally reprehensible but perfectly legal--government officials are free to lie to us, but it is a crime for us to lie to them.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by lgmayka View Post
          government officials are free to lie to us, but it is a crime for us to lie to them.
          The government can lie to us.
          We can't lie to them.

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          • #6
            Katm, You're right, there was a court order.

            I'm surprised that Electronic Frontier Foundation was so far off the mark.

            Their stories are normally very accurate, and well researched.

            But, even with a court order or warrant, it is still a recipe for disaster.

            I know law enforcement argues that it is no different than collecting fingerprints from a crime scene. But it sure seems a lot more invasive.

            There's a lot of room for error, not to mention falsifying evidence.

            And I couldn't imagine having a child convicted of a crime, due to my voluntary, genealogical DNA testing.

            This will only get worse.

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