A DNA Testing Firm Secretly Gave The FBI Access To Millions Of DNA Profiles

Screengrab / FBI / Public Domain

Technology Review has found that a DNA testing firm covertly gave the FBI access to two million DNA profiles.

Technology Review has found that a DNA testing firm covertly gave the FBI access to two million DNA profiles.

The FBI could use the DNA samples for comparison with their own forensic samples. The DNA is generally used to locate relatives.

A company spokesperson said that law enforcement agencies have thus far uploaded 22 samples, and 10 were from the FBI. At least one case has been solved.

Privacy has ended, as specialized law enforcement databases with DNA profiles of felons could soon be outdated. Natalie Ram, an assistant law professor at the University of Baltimore said, “We are nearing a de facto national DNA database.”

Some users are angry, as Family Tree, the DNA testing firm, did not tell their customers about the arrangement with the FBI.

“At a time people distrust science, it’s more important than ever that people understand and consent to how their information is being used,” says David Mittelman, who was once chief scientist at the company. “No one wants to wake up to learn the terms of use changed by press release.”

Bennett Greenspan, the Family Tree DNA founder, said that law enforcement only has access to the type of information that is already shared by users, such as names, e-mails, and photographs.

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