posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 06:32 PM
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
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.