Wednesday, December 11, 2019

GEDmatch acquisition calls privacy into question

Privacy of genomic data is coming into question as the company GEDmatch was used to identify a suspect in the Golden State Killer case. Crime scene evidence was matched to data uploaded to the site which continues to be used for identification in criminal cases.The terms and conditions of the site were changed to allow law enforcement to actively utilize the site as a resource. Now, with an acquisition to Verogen ( a DNA sequencing company), the site will be more useful to law enforcement. 
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    Many genealogists have left the program citing changes that make the data into a product rather than a service. Though the new system requires an opt-in, it can be overridden by a warrant received by law enforcement. The new terms may also be hard to understand and unintentionally trick people. This has caused the amount of data to shrink enormously. 
    I think that law enforcement should be able to utilize sites such as this to match suspect DNA. If you put your DNA information online for everyone to see, it should be able to be used by professionals. This way more criminals could be caught leading to a safer environment. 

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