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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: 2) by c0lo on Friday April 05 2019, @12:08AM

    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Friday April 05 2019, @12:08AM (#824741) Journal

    But it could be. For example, an 18 Y/O son could reasonably sue his parents for intrusion if they got one of these test done ON THEMSELVES. Particularly if he/she had markers for a genetic disorder. The loss is incured because this stuff could be used in the future by a potential mate, or even an employer. That fact is likely to cause mental harm or stress.

    Implicit assumption: the "Genome sequencing companies own the data and they can share it with whoever they want - law enforcement included - at large and with no regulatory safeguards".
    Iff you accept this assumption, the "culprits" for the misfortune the 18Y/O can sue for are her/his parents - they should have known better (could they??? How?).

    But... why does the assumption need to hold true? Why push the responsibility for safeguarding their own privacy to each and every person? Why ask everyone to be paranoid?
    Do we really like a society based on mistrust as the default?
    Only in the name of profit? (or, in the proposed context, "to avoid potential loss in the future")
    Is "eternal economical growth" a purpose to each one needs to sacrifice every other purposes in life? Do we want/like to become "economic drones"?

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