Angela Chen reports:
At-home DNA testing site FamilyTreeDNA — which was widely criticized for working with the FBI without telling its customers — will now offer users the option to prevent law enforcement from accessing their data.
In January, BuzzFeed News reported that FamilyTreeDNA let law enforcement create profiles on the site using DNA from unsolved cases. The agencies then used those profiles to look for possible matches in the company’s genetic database. Now, users will be able to opt out of matching with accounts created for this purpose, FamilyTreeDNA said in an email, as first reported by New Scientist. Law enforcement will have to go through a special process to use the database, and customers that opt out will still be able to match with other non-law enforcement users on the site.
Read more on The Verge.
The decision by a prominent consumer DNA-testing company to share data with federal law enforcement means investigators have access to genetic information linked to hundreds of millions of people.
Just one week ago, we warned that the government — helped by Congress (which adopted legislation allowing police to collect and test DNA immediately following arrests), President Trump (who signed the Rapid DNA Act into law), the courts (which have ruled that police can routinely take DNA samples from people who are arrested but not yet convicted of a crime), and local police agencies (which are chomping at the bit to acquire this new crime-fighting gadget) — was embarking on a diabolical campaign to create a nation of suspects predicated on a massive national DNA database.
This year, you and your loved ones may have come across ads for a great gift to give this holiday season: cheaper-than-ever home DNA-testing kits sold by companies like 23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA, and Ancestry.
Recently, a genealogy service provided law enforcement with the information they needed to locate a murder suspect they'd been hunting for over forty years. GEDMatch admitted it was the service investigators used to find a familial match to DNA samples it had taken from crime scenes. This revelation led people to question how private their DNA data was when shared with genealogy services. The answer is, of course, not very, what with the purpose of these services being the matching of DNA info from thousands or millions of unrelated individuals.
According to the Verge, Ancestry.com, is seeking permission from the FDA to create a national DNA database. Ancestry.com claims they'll use your DNA to assess your families disease risk. Would it shock you to know that Google, the NSA and DHS are using "front companies" to create a GLOBAL DNA database? “On the heels of our AncestryHealth launch and our one million genotyped customers milestone for AncestryDNA, we’re excited to announce this collaboration with Calico to research and develop life changing solutions,” said Ken Chahine, Executive Vice President and Head of DNA and Health. “We have laid the groundwork for this effort through the combination of an unmatched family history database, one of the fastest growing genetic databases..."
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