• There’s a lot of talk about certain DNA sites working with law enforcement to solve crimes. At the top of the list is privacy concerns, due process, and the ethics of it.

    I wasn’t too concerned about this, but since I work in information security mostly, it does become an information security concern. I recently learned that Family TreeDNA, a company I’ve worked with on DNA profiles, has shared information with the FBI.

    The president of FamilyTreeDNA, one of the largest at-home DNA testing companies, has apologized to its users for failing to disclose that it was sharing DNA data with FBI investigators working to solve violent crimes.

    FamilyTreeDNA had established itself as a leader of customer privacy and a protector of user data, refusing to sell information to third parties.

    Their customers were unaware, the Houston-based firm quietly and agreed in 2018 to open its database to the F.B.I. and examine DNA samples in its laboratory to identify suspects and victims of unsolved rapes and murders.

    Both ancestry.com and 23andMe, two of the largest companies that produce DNA profiles for customers who provide DNA samples, said they don’t work with law enforcement unless they receive a court order. Ancestry.com told the AP it hasn’t received requests for DNA information in the last 3 years. A 23andMe representative added that the company “has never given customer information to law enforcement officials” and that it doesn’t allow third party access to their genetic data. for comparison

    You Can’t Hide From DNA

    It’s getting harder to hide when DNA evidence becomes part of the evidence. The volume of people submitting their DNA for analysis is increasing and will make it easier for law enforcement to catch criminals.

    I believe this is a good thing over all, as long as the companies working with law enforcement are transparent about their practices. What are you thoughts on this practice? Feel free to leave them in the comments below.