“Police used DNA info on genealogy website to track down Golden State Killer suspect” (CNN, 4/28/18). At first glance, a triumph for law enforcement. Not so fast. The method used to identify the suspect—DNA matching — raises troubling questions about a law enforcement agency getting way over its skis. It was not the suspect’s DNA that provided the clue to his identity but that of a relative. The DNA was culled from a genealogy database that didn’t (because it didn’t have to) inform the relative that his (or her) DNA might wind up as part of a law enforcement operation and then on a government database permanently.
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