Is this a privacy issue? An article by Jay Syrmopoulos for the Free Thought Project at http://goo.gl/JYML8u says: “Would you find it frightening— perhaps even downright Orwellian — to know that a DNA swab that you sent to a company for recreational purposes would surface years later in the hands of police? What if it caused your child to end up in a police interrogation room as the primary suspect in a murder investigation?”
The article is available at http://goo.gl/JYML8u.
Judy Russell recently discussed the details of this case a few days ago in her excellent Legal Genealogist blog at http://legalgenealogist.com/blog/2015/05/03/facts-matter/. I’ll leave it to her to discuss the legal issues involved. However, after reading her article, I am still left with the same two questions above:
1. “Would you find it frightening— perhaps even downright Orwellian — to know that a DNA swab that you sent to a company for recreational purposes would surface years later in the hands of police?”
2. “What if it caused your child to end up in a police interrogation room as the primary suspect in a murder investigation?”
Search warrants or not, I am still not comfortable with my DNA information submitted for genealogy research being used without my knowledge for purposes I never dreamed of.
Update: There is an interesting update to this story on AlterNet that describes the use of entrapment by the police to obtain the suspect’s DNA without his knowledge while he was not represented by legal counsel. The article also quotes Judy Russell: “It’s not very common to see this sort of thing, and I frankly hope it doesn’t become very common because an awful lot of people won’t bother testing.” I agree with Judy.
The article also states:
“Shouldn’t we be able to research and learn about our family’s genealogical ancestry without fear that police will be reviewing our genetic information without our consent?
“This case makes it clear that even when a private business states in writing that your data will be held as private and safe from prying eyes, that may very well not be what transpires.”
The AlterNet article provides thought-provoking reading at http://mobile.slashdot.org/story/15/05/05/229257/police-can-obtain-cellphone-location-records-without-a-warrant.