Should DNA Repositories Share DNA data with police sans a warrant?Somervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


 

Should DNA Repositories Share DNA data with police sans a warrant?
 


7 May 2015 at 11:33:48 AM
salon

Interesting dilemma. I am one who definitely likes people using DNA results to do genealogy research. But I believe that the genealogy repository of DNA should have to have received a warrant before checking for matches.  IF DNA respositories do not respect at least that level of privacy, then surely people will be much less likely to want to voluntarily contribute 

The cops chose to use a lab linked to a private collection of genetic genealogical data called the Sorenson Database (now owned by Ancestry.com), which claims it’s “the foremost collection of genetic genealogy data in the world.” The reason the Sorenson Database can make such an audacious claim is because it has obtained its more than 100,000 DNA samples and documented multi-generational family histories from “volunteers in more than 100 countries around the world.” Some of these volunteers were encouraged by the Mormon Church—well-known for its interest in genealogy—to provide their genetic material to the database. Sorenson promised volunteers their genetic data would only be used for “genealogical services, including the determination of family migration patterns and geographic origins” and would not be shared outside Sorenson.

Its consent form states:
The only individuals who will have access to the codes and genealogy information will be the principal investigator and the others specifically authorized by the Principal Investigator, including the SMGF research staff.

Despite this promise, Sorenson shared its vast collection of data with the Idaho police. Without a warrant or court order, investigators asked the lab to run the crime scene DNA against Sorenson’s private genealogical DNA database. Sorenson found 41 potential familial matches, one of which matched on 34 out of 35 alleles—a very close match that would generally indicate a close familial relationship. The cops then asked, not only for the “protected” name associated with that profile, but also for all “all information including full names, date of births, date and other information pertaining to the original donor to the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy project.”

 

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