Slash Boxes

SoylentNews is people

SoylentNews is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop. Only 17 submissions in the queue.
posted by martyb on Wednesday January 22 2020, @03:28PM   Printer-friendly
from the 60%-likely-is-40%-unlikely dept.


How similar do you think you are to your second cousin? Or your estranged great aunt?

Would you like to have people assess your behaviour from what your great aunt has done? How would you feel if courts used data gained from them to decide how you are likely to behave in the future?

Scientists are making connections between a person's DNA and their tendencies for certain kinds of behaviour. At the same time, commercial DNA databases are becoming more common and police are gaining access to them.

When these trends combine, genetic data inferred about offenders from their relatives might one day be used by courts to determine sentences. In the future, the data from your great aunt could be used by a court to determine how severely you are punished for a crime.

[...] A Florida judge recently approved a warrant to search a genetic genealogy , GED Match. This American company has approximately 1.3 million users who have uploaded their personal genetic data, with the assumption of privacy, in the hope of discovering their family tree.

The court directly overruled these users' request for privacy and now the company is obliged to hand over the data.

[...] This might be used by the prosecution to make the case for a longer sentence. In some jurisdictions and circumstances, the prosecution may have a means of obtaining a sample of DNA directly from the offender. But where this is not legally possible without the offender's consent, the inference from relatives might fill a gap in the prosecution's case about how dangerous the offender is.

Your ability to be granted bail may hinge on your genes.

Original Submission

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 22 2020, @05:32PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 22 2020, @05:32PM (#946905)

    Yeah, but there's a plentiful base of examples of false accusation. Once someone is in court, without adequate defense, the supposition automatically falls against them, and especially under the prerogative of a jury. So being able to present correlative genetic "evidence" only drives the courts to ascertain that someone innocent may be inherently malicious and should be condemned for one act or another despite the circumstances. Another issue is correlation, the human genome is complex, and the emergent features of the systems therein even more so. Downstream effects of one gene might me mitigated in their entirety by another, or perhaps amplified. Ascertaining which, where, when also begs questions in epigenetics that are thus far unanswered. It's entirely possible that you share plenty of correlate genetics with psychopathic murderers, but that the environmental stimuli required to activate the genes contributing to hyper-aggressive behavior were never presented to you, and perhaps you escaped the critical period wherein you were susceptible to such prolific alterations.

    This might be practically and philosophically just in the distant future, but I'd postulate our grasp on genetics from a holistic perspective is extraordinarily limited in the present. It strikes me as only a novel means to interject the processes of an already convoluted justice system with even more complications.

    Starting Score:    0  points
    Moderation   +3  
       Insightful=1, Interesting=2, Total=3
    Extra 'Interesting' Modifier   0  

    Total Score:   3