I’ve been reading with great interest about the police use of DNA and genealogy databases to solve cold cases. I love the fact that old crimes can be solved but I also worry that this process might be abused fairly easily.
Therefore, I was intrigued to read “Why using genetic genealogy to solve crimes could pose problems” in Science News. It very succinctly articulated the issues inherent in this process and made it clear that my worries are not unfounded. Another good article titled “Experts outline ethics issues with use of genealogy DNA to solve crimes” can be found in Reuters news.
The other side of this story, meaning the positive potential of DNA to solve old, terrible crimes, can be gleaned from this article from NBC News: “This is just the beginning: Using DNA and genealogy to crack years-old cold cases”.
Obviously there are important concerns on both sides of this discussion. I think each genealogist will have to make up their own mind as to whether they are comfortable having their DNA (or their family members’ DNA) available in a public forum.
My perspective? I am fine with giving my DNA to a company such as Ancestry or 23andMe because they have the appropriate requirements in place to maintain privacy at a level that works for me. I am not as comfortable having my DNA available on an open website such as GEDmatch until I see that it has some systems in place to make sure my DNA data cannot be accessed inappropriately. As I said, it is a personal decisions, but I think an important one for genealogists to consider and debate.