COPS NOW USING WARRANTS TO GAIN ACCESS TO DNA SERVICES' ENTIRE DATABASES | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

COPS NOW USING WARRANTS TO GAIN ACCESS TO DNA SERVICES' ENTIRE DATABASES

SOURCE: TECH DIRT
Cops have discovered a new source of useful third-party records: DNA databases. Millions of people have voluntarily handed over personal information to a number of services in exchange for info on medical markers or distant family members.

Investigators are submitting DNA samples from cold cases in hopes of tracking down criminals who’ve managed to evade them for years. It has led to the closing of some cases, which is all agencies need to argue for continued access to DNA samples from millions of users.

Some DNA services are more protective of their customers’ privacy than others. Of course, privacy protections in this context generate quite a bit of friction. For DNA databases to be useful, users must allow others to access their DNA info and expect others to do the same thing. Identifying info can be withheld, and definitely should be if users aren’t interested in rebuilding a family tree. One company, however, has decided it’s an unofficial arm of the law enforcement community and has involuntarily deputized its users.

When cops submit DNA seeking matches, they don’t always identify themselves as law enforcement officers. Faux accounts are being used to gather matches with DNA services (and their users) unaware of the government’s intrusion. Once investigators have gathered some promising hits, they reveal themselves to issue subpoenas demanding identifying info on the search results.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

I used to think about using DNA services to get a little more background on my ancestors; however, with recent revelations, (and not that I have done anything to cause any police to come knocking at my door), I don't think I want to at this point in time.

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