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.

U.S. Justice Department Sets Rules for Using Genealogy Sites to Solve Crimes

Investigators have used genealogy sites to solve a string of cold cases in recent years, but the US hasn’t really had a firm stance on how and when to use those sites. There’s now a basic framework in place, however. The U.S. Justice Department has established interim rules that determine how this forensic genetic genealogy can be used to tackle unsolved violent crimes. Officials portray it as striking a balance between the desire to solve crimes with the protection of privacy and civil freedoms.

The policy generally limits law enforcement to considering genealogy sites when a candidate sample belongs to a possible culprit, or when a likely homicide victim is unidentified. Prosecutors can greenlight the use of these sites for violent crimes beyond murder and sexual assault, but only when the circumstances create a “substantial and ongoing threat” to the public. Agencies can’t use the sites unless a sample has first been uploaded to the FBI’s DNA profile database and hasn’t produced a match. Also, the investigators in the relevant jurisdiction need to have followed “reasonable investigative leads,” and case info need to be entered into national databases for missing people and violent criminals.

There’s more even after meeting these rules. You can read more in an article by Jon Fingas in the Engadget web site at: https://www.engadget.com/2019/09/25/justice-department-rules-for-genealogy-site-use/.

 

Categories: DNA, Legal Affairs

1 reply

  1. The thing is that a lot of these Genealogy sites people use of their own free will and if the company wants to cooperate with LE then there isn’t much that can be done. I actually don’t have much of an issue with this. I personally am not uploading my blood.

    Great stuff keep it up.

    Like

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