They Got Him
Afer decades of searching, law enforcement finally caught the “Golden State Killer” He’s been accused of 12 different murders. If the investigation is successful, he’ll face heavy duty time.
How They Caught Him
Police sent out blood samples to DNA labs. They compared the blood from the crime scene to sample gathered by GEDmatch. GED match is which is a free version of services similar to ancestory.com and 23andMe that ask for DNA samples.
These companies take the DNA sample you sent and gather as much information about a person as they possibly can by exploring their genetic makeup. These companies can tell you about multiple genes you carry.
For example, with 23andMe, one can see if they carry a gene that makes a person sneeze when looking bright lights. Some of the information may seem useless, but the police used these services to serve some well-deserved justice.
So What’s The Fear?
Companies store your DNA code the same way that banks store your account information and personal information.
The issue with this is that the information can be hacked. The stolen information can be sold to third parties for profit. It can also be used by the government to track you down.
When our credit card information gets stolen, there’s a simple solution; open a new account and cancel the old one. When it comes to DNA, there is nothing you can change. Once it’s out there, you’re trackable. Everywhere we go, everything you touch will have trackable traces of your DNA.
What About Consent?
The golden state killer suspect did not submit his DNA to the GEDmatch company, his relative did. Although this is great for catching bad guys, it means that we don’t have consent when it comes to sharing our DNA. Anyone can submit anyone’s DNA! The submission of one person’s DNA implicates hundreds of people.
DNA information not only tells about a person, but it tells a lot about their families as well. The Golden State killer didn’t even submit his DNA, his cousin did!
Not So Accurate
However, these tests are not considered to be the most accurate. A research team studied the accuracy of these companies results. They found a 40% false positive rate. Additionally, they only give you an estimate of where your family is from. Once they upgrade their algorithm, they may send you updates about changes in your results.
Your DNA Is Everywhere
Your DNA can even be found on a public phone booth that you never touched. If a person holds your hand and touches something else, they can transfer your DNA.
if the police start using these DNA databases they might think they caught a criminal when they really did not.
23andMe claim that they never shared their DNA with law enforcement. However, Ansestry.com admitted providing genetic information to help solve a murder case in 2014.
Calling All Lawmakers
DNA is a powerful thing and a dangerous thing at the same time. It can help us catch murders, connect to distant family members, and fight disease. However, companies need to be responsible when dealing with and storing this powerful information– Before all of our data is out there.