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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.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 25 2020, @09:06PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 25 2020, @09:06PM (#948608)

    The point of the weight analogy was a perfectly clear response to this. All Americans want to be a healthy weight. And all of them could be a healthy weight by literally doing *less* than they currently doing (eating less in particular). There's no external force making it where only 28% (and declining) of Americans be can be a healthy weight and the rest cannot. The issue is simply that the vast majority of people are lazy, self indulgent, and unwilling to engage in discomfort for gains even when it means they're literally shortening their lives through such behavior.

    So how many people can or cannot theoretically achieve some task is completely irrelevant when we can clearly demonstrate that it's these sort of factors such as laziness/self indulgence play such disproportionate roles. This is why your thought experiment needs to start with the assumption of identical people, yet it fails there too, though for different reasons.