Salvador Hernandez reports:
Family Tree DNA, one of the largest private genetic testing companies whose home-testing kits enable people to trace their ancestry and locate relatives, is working with the FBI and allowing agents to search its vast genealogy database in an effort to solve violent crime cases, BuzzFeed News has learned.
Federal and local law enforcement have used public genealogy databases for more than two years to solve cold cases, including the landmark capture of the suspected Golden State Killer, but the cooperation with Family Tree DNA and the FBI marks the first time a private firm has agreed to voluntarily allow law enforcement access to its database.
But here’s what they do that’s clever. Not admirable, in my opinion, but clever: they let law enforcement sign up for a user account just like anyone else. And just like other users can search for DNA matches or potential relatives, well, the FBI/user can do that same kind of searching. If you are not an FBI agent and don’t want law enforcement to be able to search your data, then you have to deprive yourself of the feature you signed up to get — the ability to find others and for them to find you.
Read more on BuzzFeed.
And would this be an okay time to remind everyone that for years, Joe Cadillic and I have both been trying to warn the public about the risks with these genealogy/DNA services. It’s not? Okay, then, tell me when it is.