New DNA analysis revealed that Calvin Hoover killed Christine Jessop in 1984. Toronto Police Chief James Ramer sits next to a screen displaying photos of Calvin Hoover during a news conference on Oct. 15, 2020.
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Christine Jessop was murdered in 1984 and, 36 years later, DNA evidence finally identified her killer. But the police investigation’s use of genetic genealogical databases raised questions about privacy.
Individuals who upload their DNA test results to databases may not have much control over how it’s used.
Can the new owner of GEDmatch ,a genealogy database preserve its original purpose while allowing a seamless service to law enforcement?
DNA database giant Ancestry lets members access international records including the convict and free settler lists, passenger lists, Australian and New Zealand electoral rolls and military records.
A US judge has allowed police access to the major DNA database without users’ consent (including Australian users). It’s a timely reminder that we urgently need genetic privacy legislation.
Home DNA testing has made it easy and affordable for millions of people to learn about their ancestry. Now, police are using this genetic information to identify suspects in unsolved crimes.
Despite privacy concerns over police use of DNA uploaded to ancestry websites, many people are just excited that their genetic material could get a killer off the streets.
It all begins with spitting in a tube like this one.
Scott Beale/Laughing Squid
More people are sending off saliva samples to find out about their genetic roots. But the raw DNA results go way beyond genealogical data – and could deliver unintended consequences.
Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, who authorities suspect is the so-called Golden State Killer responsible for at least a dozen murders and 50 rapes in the 1970s and ‘80s, during his arraignment on April 27, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif.
(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
A public genealogy data base was used to track down the so-called “Golden State Killer,” raising concerns about the privacy of using public sites to fill out our family trees.