Privacy Blog

"Friends don’t let friends get spied on.' – Richard Stallman, President of the Free Software Foundation and longtime advocate of privacy in technology.

Like It or Not, Everyone might soon be in a DNA Database

There is an interesting article by Stuart Leavenworth in the web site:

“Familial searches led California authorities to arrest Joseph James DeAngelo in the Golden State Killer probe in April, and investigators have since used it to make breakthroughs in several other unsolved murder cases, including four in Washington state, Pennsylvania, Texas and North Carolina.

“But as these searches proliferate, they are raising concerns about police engagement in “DNA dragnets” and “genetic stop and frisk” techniques. And as public DNA databases grow and are accessed by law enforcement, investigators may soon have the ability to track down nearly anyone, even people who never submitted their genetic material for analysis.

“’If you are a privacy zealot, this is super alarming. It means you don’t have any privacy,’ said Malia Fullerton, a bioethics specialist and professor at the University of Washington. ‘On the other hand, if you have no problem with police using your family information to solve these cold cases, you might see this as a good thing.’”


“Given the reach of familial searching through GEDmatch and similar sites, some legal experts say the time has come for government regulation of these sites and how law enforcement uses them.”

You can read the entire article at:

Comment: I have no qualms about law enforcement officers using GEDmatch and similar online resources to legally find and apprehend murderers and other violent criminals. If possible, I would even help the police find these criminals and would volunteer my own DNA information in such an effort. However, recent history has shown that some police, some employees of law enforcement departments, and various hackers around the world also use all sorts of databases to illegally spy on people, especially spying on former spouses or lovers, as well as for illegally finding information about business rivals, celebrities, and potential blackmail victims.  Do we want to keep these databases in public view where ANYONE can use them for ANY purpose?

Categories: DNA

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.