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posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday April 03 2019, @11:14PM   Printer-friendly
from the privacy-policies-are-for-suckers dept.

Submitted via IRC for chromas

FamilyTreeDNA Deputizes Itself, Starts Pitching DNA Matching Services To Law Enforcement

One DNA-matching company has decided it's going to corner an under-served market: US law enforcement. FamilyTreeDNA -- last seen here opening up its database to the FBI without informing its users first -- is actively pitching its services to law enforcement.

The television spot, to air in San Diego first, asks anyone who has had a direct-to-consumer DNA test from another company, like 23andMe or, to upload a copy so that law enforcement can spot any connections to DNA found at crime scenes.

The advertisement features Ed Smart, father of Elizabeth Smart, a Salt Lake City teen who was abducted in 2002 but later found alive. “If you are one of the millions of people who have taken a DNA test, your help can provide the missing link,” he says in the spot.

Welcome to FamilyTreeDNA's cooperating witness program -- one it profits from by selling information customers give it to law enforcement. The tug at the heartstrings is a nice touch. FamilyTreeDNA is finally being upfront with users about its intentions for their DNA samples. This is due to its founder deciding -- without consulting his customers -- that they're all as willing as he is to convert your DNA samples into public goods.

Bennett Greenspan, the firm’s founder, said he had decided he had a moral obligation to help solve old murders and rapes. Now he thinks that customers will agree and make their DNA available specifically to help out.

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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by opinionated_science on Thursday April 04 2019, @01:12AM (2 children)

    by opinionated_science (4031) on Thursday April 04 2019, @01:12AM (#824314)

    I tell this to all my friends who want DNA tests.

    Get $X friends ($X>10) , order $X kits and then map random names to kits.

    Keep the key for yourselves, and then you get your DNA matched. This will polute their database.

    The only fly is if family history is needed from some diseases.

    But it really isn't that useful, unless there are *known* familial traits...

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  • (Score: 4, Funny) by darkfeline on Thursday April 04 2019, @03:52AM (1 child)

    by darkfeline (1030) on Thursday April 04 2019, @03:52AM (#824357) Homepage

    I read that as X dollars worth of friends and wondered how many friends $10 would get me.

    Join the SDF Public Access UNIX System today!
    • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 04 2019, @08:39AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 04 2019, @08:39AM (#824398)

      and wondered how many friends $10 would get me.

      Depending on which service you use, on FB that can get you up to 100 friends.