Privacy Security

What the Golden State Killer case means for your genetic privacy

The use of family members' DNA without their consent to find the "Golden State Killer" has highlighted potential privacy concerns involved with genealogy databases and DNA testing.
Fears about the privacy of our data have become commonplace amid credit monitoring hacks and a political firm accessing Facebook users’ information. A recent arrest takes it one step further, raising questions about how our genetic information is being used and who has access to it.

Nearly 32 years after the Golden State Killer’s rampage ended, police made an arrest on Tuesday in a Sacramento, California, suburb.

The arrest was made on the basis of genetic information, with detectives matching a discarded DNA sample from his home to evidence from the investigation, law enforcement officials said. DNA evidence is used to implicate criminals every day, but the method used in this case was new.

The investigators used an open-source genetic database, GEDmatch, to explore family trees and see whether any contained matches to DNA samples from the crime scenes, according to Paul Holes, a retired cold case investigator who briefed the Sacramento County sheriff throughout the final stages of the investigation. Genetic testing appears to be an evolution in the “when the product is surprisingly cheap, you are the product” ethos: You are very much the product of commercial genetic testing companies while footing the bill.

Read entire article What the Golden State Killer case means for your genetic privacy | CNN

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