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Law Enforcement requesting DNA Results

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  • Law Enforcement requesting DNA Results

    Was reading that Ancestry and 23 and Me had been requested by law enforcement for DNA results of someone who was wanted for rape. I am getting a little concerned as to the level of protection we have regarding our DNA results. Any thoughts????

  • #2
    Law enforcement and DNA

    Maybe we could make a deal with the FBI - Let private DNA researcher have access to your databases!!

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    • #3
      @sshayward:
      I suppose you read something related to the brouhaha from last year, which was blown all out of proportion when reported inaccurately by the Electronic Freedom Foundation. The Legal Genealogist blog had a post about it:
      http://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog.../facts-matter/.

      I think the story has been resurrected recently (3 days ago in the Boston Globe, at least), and people who didn't hear about it last year are expressing concern. Basically, if law enforcement wants your DNA, there are less troublesome ways to get it, and specifically the kind of test they need, rather than getting court orders to obtain results from consumer testing companies. Tests from Ancestry, 23andMe, and FTDNA (to find matches who are alike) are not the same as what law enforcement uses (to find what makes you unique).

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      • #4
        If you have been to jail or prison in the last 20 years, chance are, they already have it. Otherwise, they could easily get a sample with a warrant if you were a suspect. Perhaps just as easy and more cunning, they could likely find a viable trace in your garbage. Even if this was impossible, the FBI and CIA have cooperative access with some of the largest and most significant genealogy databases in the world. This is how, without collecting a prior sample, they can positively identify the DNA of foreign nationals in 3rd world countries (e.g. Osama Bin Laden.)
        So, either don't worry about it or do. No one is after you, and no one cares - until you do something wrong.

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        • #5
          So, if you have committed a crime or are planning on committing one, just don't do DNA tests!!!

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          • #6
            research

            perhaps law enforcement wants access to the data bases less for reasons of convicting somebody who has taken an ff test but rather finding whom the criminal is related too. They would treat the case like many people trying to find biological family.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by KATM View Post
              @sshayward:
              I suppose you read something related to the brouhaha from last year, which was blown all out of proportion when reported inaccurately by the Electronic Freedom Foundation. The Legal Genealogist blog had a post about it:
              http://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog.../facts-matter/.

              I think the story has been resurrected recently (3 days ago in the Boston Globe, at least), and people who didn't hear about it last year are expressing concern. Basically, if law enforcement wants your DNA, there are less troublesome ways to get it, and specifically the kind of test they need, rather than getting court orders to obtain results from consumer testing companies. Tests from Ancestry, 23andMe, and FTDNA (to find matches who are alike) are not the same as what law enforcement uses (to find what makes you unique).
              I really don't see how the story could be painted in a good light. Law enforcement was able to search an entire DNA database for matches. Once they had a match they did need a subpoena. Basically if you are in a DNA database, with the above precedent, anytime a police agency runs across DNA at a crime scene they can run it against a DNA database such as ancestry fishing for a match. If you are a close enough match, they can bring you down to a police station under false pretenses and compel a sample. Depending on the degree of that match, they can turn your life upside down.

              I am not part of family finder so that government agencies can utilize the database as their own.

              The writer cites a total red herring that with a court order, you can be compelled to give a DNA sample. The point of the search was not to get a DNA sample of an individual, but to locate an individual among millions of possible individuals. They also mention that it was a public database, but the agreement entered into by members of the database was:

              The only individuals who will have access to the codes and genealogy information will be the principal investigator and the others specifically authorized by the Principal Investigator, including the SMGF research staff.
              So no, it was not a public database there for law enforcement to search as they see fit. They needed permission of the principle investigator.

              Please read the EFF article, it does in no way misrepresent the case in the ways that the Legal Genealogist claims:

              https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/0...nnocent-man-20

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              • #8
                Originally posted by KATM View Post
                @sshayward:
                I suppose you read something related to the brouhaha from last year, which was blown all out of proportion when reported inaccurately by the Electronic Freedom Foundation.
                Actually, the the story was reported accurately, and it was not blown out of proportion. A totally innocent man went through a very stressful ordeal because one of his male relatives (also innocent) showed up as a distant match in a random search of a genealogical data base. Part of the solution will be to educate law enforcement so that they do not use DNA results that do not have the resolution needed to find close matches.


                Originally posted by SilverSierra View Post
                they could easily get a sample with a warrant if you were a suspect. Perhaps just as easy and more cunning, they could likely find a viable trace in your garbage.
                That misses the point entirely - this guy was not a suspect until one of his family members was identified as a distant match in a search of a genealogical DNA data base. Police then turned their attention to all of the male relatives of the man who did the genealogy DNA test.

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