Saturday, April 28, 2018

Silly Peasants, Open Facebook Got NOTHING On Open "Consumer" DNA...,



NYTimes |  The California police had the Golden State Killer’s DNA and recently found an unusually well-preserved sample from one of the crime scenes. The problem was finding a match.

But these days DNA is stored in many places, and a near-match ultimately was found in a genealogy website beloved by hobbyists called GEDmatch, created by two volunteers in 2011.

Anyone can set up a free profile on GEDmatch. Many customers upload to the site DNA profiles they have already generated on larger commercial sites like 23andMe.

The detectives in the Golden State Killer case uploaded the suspect’s DNA sample. But they would have had to check a box online certifying that the DNA was their own or belonged to someone for whom they were legal guardians, or that they had “obtained authorization” to upload the sample.

“The purpose was to make these connections and to find these relatives,” said Blaine Bettinger, a lawyer affiliated with GEDmatch. “It was not intended to be used by law enforcement to identify suspects of crimes.”

But joining for that purpose does not technically violate site policy, he added.

Erin Murphy, a law professor at New York University and expert on DNA searches, said that using a fake identity might raise questions about the legality of the evidence.

The matches found in GEDmatch were to relatives of the suspect, not the suspect himself.

Since the site provides family trees, detectives also were able to look for relatives who might not have uploaded genetic data to the site themselves.