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Genealogical Website DNA Data Used to Nab Golden State Killer Suspect

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posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 06:32 PM
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This is a bit alarming to me. I think it's great that they've potentially caught this bastard but the implications here are more than worrisome.

Relative's DNA from genealogy websites cracked East Area Rapist case, DA's office says


The effort was part of a painstaking process that began by using DNA from one of the crime scenes from years ago and comparing it to genetic profiles available online through various websites that cater to individuals wanting to know more about their family backgrounds by accepting DNA samples from them, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Grippi.

The investigation was conducted over a long period of time as officials in Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert's office and crime lab explored online family trees that appeared to have matches to DNA samples from the East Area Rapist's crimes, Grippi said. They then followed clues to individuals in the family trees to determine whether they were potential suspects.


I'm quite familiar with a number of genealogy sites and genealogical research in general but I haven't purchased a kit for myself (and I defintely won't be doing so now) so I'm not really sure what is presented in terms of familial relations by which site or how it's handled.

I did however buy one for my dad a couple years back and thankfully, he never used it.

When I was considering whether or not to buy a test for myself, my main concerns in terms of privacy were exactly what was being retained and whether sites would either sell it (to say an insurer) or provide it to law enforcement without a warrant. What I admittedly overlooked was the glaring hole created by family members providing their DNA and sites providing the service of matching customers to closely related members.

Anyway, as I said, I'm not really familiar with the ins and outs of how the various sites are handling privacy in this area but from the sounds of it, it could have been as simple as purchasing some kits, inserting bodily fluids from a crime scene, sending them off, waiting to see what (who) came back and doing a bit of basic public records searching.

No warrant required.

In other words, if you've got close family members submitting their DNA to these places, there's a good chance that it could be used to find you from your DNA and a bit of public records/social media research.




posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 06:42 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

There is no privacy any longer.

This is disturbing.



posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 06:44 PM
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Or we could just not murder, rape, and commit other violent crime?

I get what you’re saying, but US military got my DNA back in the early 90s, along with millions and millions of others by now.

But everyone wants advanced science, extreme technology, and social media. Not sure where people thought it would lead. We had enough warnings...



posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 06:47 PM
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You have to consent to share You information Publicly to match up to other Members who have "opted in". Although I don't know if They used non public profiles in Their search.



posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 06:55 PM
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a reply to: ATruGod

I assumed it was something like that but that's hardly any better as you can't control whether family members will opt in or not.



posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 06:55 PM
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My issue with this is that they told the public how they found him, I have no problem with a DNA database if it meant that rapists were quickly identified after a crime



posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 07:00 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian


My cousin predicted this use years ago.

Quick someone send one to Elizabeth Warren 🤣



posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 07:03 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

That was pretty smart of the detectives.

I have had a DNA test done. I think I would want law enforcement to find any relative who has done something so terrible. Otherwise they might be a danger to my loved ones. So, law enforcement is welcome to look for matches.



posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 07:11 PM
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I think it's time that a serious conversation is had about what is personal and what is not. DNA can reveal a lot of things other than just identity.

We humans are god awful animals and if there is a way to abuse access to DNA information, it will happen. I can see scenarios where even those who think this is OK in this case might not think so in another. Insurance companies using it, employers using it and the like and they will.

Then you have the issue of companies slipping things into their EULA's that people would never read or not understand to cover themselves so they can sell information.

I think they need to deal with this question now from a legal standpoint and legislation to cover it. They are a couple of years beyond when they should have dealt with it. I guess when it impacts a powerful politician adversely, is the only time it will be seriously addressed.

Great that the killer was caught and all of that, but good you brought this up.



posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 07:14 PM
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a reply to: BlueAjah

What if an insurance company denies you coverage because of family health history or some risk they find in your DNA? What if an employer denies you employment because of something found out in your DNA? Once they have it, there is no getting it back.

Again, it's wonderful they got the monster, but throw out the baby with the bathwater?



posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 07:14 PM
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I am usually against Government regulation, but apparently the only way to deal with these privacy violations is to legislate an online 'Bill of Rights' and start holding these companies accountable.

Honestly, you should be able to get your DNA information or any other information...especially if we PAY for it....without some company without any moral compass being able to abuse the data.

I would rather them not catch killers than abuse the privacy of us humans.



posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 07:16 PM
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Well, that is a bit worrisome. Both my parents recently did the whole DNA deal to look into their genealogies. I guess I got nothing to hide, but most of us know that still doesn't necessarily make you safe. And who knows what will be illegal in the future...



posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 07:29 PM
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Only on ATS would catching a rapist/killer be "alarming".

Oh boy.



posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 07:29 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

I wonder if there's a gene that prying eyes will find in someone that makes their collective heads explode.

Like the pandora's box gene.

You know what they say about curiousity.


Catching criminals, rapists, murders, etc is one thing (good thing), but I can easily see how this could be atrociously abused, say,some rich folks bribe people in the industry to get the sequences of POI's for nefarious purposes...


edit on 4262018 by CreationBro because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 07:34 PM
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If you like your 21st Century technology, you can keep your 21st Century technology.

Velcome !!

We can help you.

🎁👀



posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 07:43 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

Alarming in an understatement. I have been telling my personal friends and family members not you utilize these types of services for years now. They are nothing more than building data bases for letter agencies. S&F for bringing this article to light. I’ll be referencing it....



posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 07:46 PM
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I remember reading about DNA robot killing certain blood cells... If police can collect DNA without fear of a civil lawsuits, just imagine what the military got cooking.... Don't drink the water!



posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 07:48 PM
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a reply to: Blaine91555

If we get to the point that insurance companies or employers are permitted to do that, then we are pretty far gone already. By the point that they would make it part of their common practice, it would probably be a required prerequisite in order to get insurance in the first place.

As for murderers... I have come into personal contact with THREE murderers in my lifetime. (Way too much for one lifetime.) They all seemed like nice, normal guys. And they all did horrendous things. Two of them included rape - not just normal rape, but very creepy scary stuff. Anything that law enforcement can do to protect us from evil like that is fine with me.



posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 08:17 PM
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a reply to: Blaine91555

I used to tell people like 10 years ago that the future would replace job applications with a facebook and DNA submission.

Looks like my vindication is not too far off!



posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 08:28 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

My understanding is that there is a website that does not do DNA testing but that you can upload your result to. There you can see what type of close matches there are to find potential unknown or lost kin. However, I believe 23andme or whatever it is called, and possibly others, state that your DNA profile will become their property, to do with as they please. Also, there's been some media reports about the laughable inaccuracy of these services.

The idea that law enforcements use of DNA will stop for just the most serious of crimes is laughable. It is the very nature of law enforcement to continually push the boundaries of the laws they are given to enforce.

It is ultimately scary to me is that once this information is obtained, there is no taking it back. During my life (50 plus years), the amount of acts that have been criminalized is truly frightening. Our level of privacy as decreased exponentially as well. IMHO, we are very close to a situation where Big Brother is going to be monitoring and controlling every moment of our lives. I do not wish the Gov't or anyone else to have access to my DNA.



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