Home DNA kits gave grown in popularity the past few years, they are affordable offering to provide you with detailed information on your family ancestry or your genetics. This means a number of companies now hold a large database of genetic data, the FBI has now gained access to one well-known DNA testing kit.
FamilyTreeDNA has confirmed that it is working with the FBI allowing them to access its genealogy database. The number of DNA profiles is stored is estimated to be well over a million.
With the FBI gaining access there is potential they can crack active cases that haven’t been solved because many cases have DNA evidence with no one to match it to.FamilyTreeDNA will potentially help solve these cases, specifically murders, and rapes.
It is important to note the FBI already has access to publicly available DNA databases, but for the first time, the FBI now has access to a private database.
The agreement between the FBI and the company sees the company working side by side on each case.
Under its privacy statement, FamilyTreeDNA notes that your personal information is never shared with third parties without your consent. Your genetic information will never be shared with “pharmaceutical or insurance companies, employers, or third-party marketers without your express consent.” The terms of service got updated in December to state (in Section 6.B.xii) that law enforcement can make use of the database to “identify the perpetrator of a violent crime.” Sexual assault, rape, homicide, and the remains of a deceased all fall under that category.
Founder and president of FamilyTreeDNA Bennett Greenspan, explained in a statement saying,“We came to the conclusion that if law enforcement created accounts, with the same level of access to the database as the standard FamilyTreeDNA user, they would not be violating user privacy and confidentiality.” The company additionally clarified, “In order for the FBI to obtain any additional information, they would have to provide a valid court-order such as a subpoena or search warrant.”
Many critics will be against this move made by FamilyTreeDNA worrying about their privacy, while others defend the FBI Joining the company in effort to crack down on unsolved cases and protecting us from future crimes.