One of the Biggest At-Home DNA Testing Companies Is Working with the FBI

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by Megalith, Feb 3, 2019.

  1. Megalith

    Megalith 24-bit/48kHz Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,004
    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2006
    The FBI using DNA to solve violent crimes isn’t new, but the fact a private company has opened its doors to the agency is: Family Tree DNA, “one of the largest private genetic testing companies whose home-testing kits enable people to trace their ancestry and locate relatives,” has reportedly given Feds “access to more than a million DNA profiles.” Family Tree DNA’s website offers the following commitment: “We won’t share your DNA: We believe your DNA belongs to YOU and only you…period. For that reason, we will never sell your DNA to third parties. Can the other guys say that?”

    The Family Tree database is free to access and can be used by anyone with a DNA profile to upload, not just paying customers. For detectives across the country desperate for leads, investigative genealogy has become the newest frontier for law enforcement agencies. By uploading DNA collected from a crime scene to genealogy databases, detectives have been able to locate distant relatives of suspected serial killers and rapists. Then, assembling a genealogical tree from that information, they have worked to identify suspects of crimes.
     
    Armenius, DejaWiz, Dayaks and 2 others like this.
  2. scojer

    scojer 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    3,961
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2009
    The article said that it's on a case by case basis and has been fewer than 10 since November.

    I'm 100% for this, if you did something wrong, you're not going to use one of these kits. Period. If you did something bad and do use one of these kits, you're kinda dumb and asking for it.
    There are tons of cold cases out there that need to be solved, and this is a tool that can and should be used.

    Also, they're not selling the information to a 3rd party, so, they're not violating their tagline.
     
  3. JDanser

    JDanser Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    248
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2012
    It's all fun and games until 3 letter agencies start selling your clones to the Illuminati.
     
  4. Twisted Kidney

    Twisted Kidney 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    3,503
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2013
  5. mullet

    mullet [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,629
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2004
    There has been a lot of people freed after 25 years in prison, from DNA clearing them.
     
  6. tordogs

    tordogs Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    488
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Have an idea these types of companies are there for just the uses described--and no one had to have their DNA extracted against their will--they volunteered it! Just like the cell phone tracking/surveillance--people buy very expensive personal tracking devices and cry for the latest and greatest! No chips had to be implanted. Now where is that tinfoil supply again? And all the data, for good or bad, is out their for any actor to get hold of and do who knows what.
     
    Snowdensjacket likes this.
  7. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

    Messages:
    28,206
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2000
    They wouldn't need the company to go along with them.

    All they need to do is what the police did in the Golden State Killer case. Submit the DNA sample to the database as anyone else would, and reach out to identified family members.

    Finding family is kind of what these services are for.

    The only downside I see is that they implicate people who haven't voluntarily submitted their samples. If your brother, sister, parents, aunts, uncle's or even cousins use a DNA ancestry serservice, surprise, you can now be found using them.

    I'm not that concerned with police using them to find suspected murderers and rapists. I am just waiting to see how this is abused for less noble causes.
     
  8. mope54

    mope54 [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    7,437
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2004
    Lol wtf, that's not how DNA works...try you do something wrong and I upload my DNA and the police find you because we're related.

    Or worse, you don't do anything wrong, my DNA matches someones who did, they grab you because we're related. Have fun being the subject after a few years of them investigating you for something your didn't do.

    And before you think you'll be fine because investigations will clear you if you're innocent that's not how that would typically go down. They don't change their minds once evidence doesnt add up, they convince themselves you're hiding your crime.

    Go read any of the former prosecutors statements after people have been fully exonerated for a chilling perspective on how they will likely view evidence that makes you look innocent.
     
  9. The Mad Atheist

    The Mad Atheist Gawd

    Messages:
    916
    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2018
    People can have matching DNA? IIRC, except for identical twins, DNA is different from person to person, even in family groups. Pretty sure LEOs would just ask you a few questions at most.
     
    Chunder likes this.
  10. nimer

    nimer n00b

    Messages:
    63
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2016
    This is so fucking grossely misinformed that i'm sure you actually have not thought through the ramifications of a FAMILY MEMBER submitting without the past criminal exploits in mind.
     
  11. Tsumi

    Tsumi [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    13,007
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    Pretty much this. And even if it's a match from the ancestry profile because of random chance (IIRC, it looks at a few segments rather than complete sequences), the agency would need to run their own tests to confirm a complete match.
     
    Chunder and scojer like this.
  12. SixFootDuo

    SixFootDuo [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    5,499
    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2004
    It's not just the FBI. We have a Family friend that is an Insurance Agent. The entire Insurance industry will be looking at DNA in regards to health so they can determine what your rates should be based off your health. She told us this is coming soon. She also recommended that people NOT ever get a DNA test. She says too many people are looking to use that data against you.
     
    SFB, Wrecked Em, PantherBlitz and 4 others like this.
  13. scojer

    scojer 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    3,961
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2009
    That's not how DNA works? What are you referring too? I never said how it worked, I just said that if someone does something wrong and uses one of these kits, they're dumb and deserve what's comin' when Law Enforcement inevitably taps all resources.

    The article addresses what you said, "my DNA matches someone's who did, they grab you because we're related."
    That's how The Golden State Killer got caught, and many more can get caught this way.

    Inform me then, because I know the DNA will not be a 100% match to the family member, but, best case scenario, it goes like this:

    Someone commits crime, leaves DNA. Not in any database so never caught.

    Family member uses one of these kits. DNA is input into database. Law Enforcement use the company to test cold case DNA.

    Family Member DNA pops up as a relative of unknown suspect's DNA.

    Police do thorough investigation, obtain warrants for other family member DNA, perpetrator caught.
     
  14. Paul_Johnson

    Paul_Johnson [H] Admin Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,712
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2004
    "For that reason, we will never sell your DNA to third parties."

    Well, I mean, they didn't sell it.
     
    Wrecked Em, Wierdo, Armenius and 4 others like this.
  15. Tsumi

    Tsumi [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    13,007
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    Unless they get rid of the "finding relatives" part, which is the major reason why people use these kits and a big part of their business model, there's no way they can stop any agency, whether police or insurance or any other party, from using that feature.
     
    The Mad Atheist and scojer like this.
  16. mope54

    mope54 [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    7,437
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2004
    The way they do these kinds dragnets is they use some loosely connected data (in this case, a possible DNA match) to build up a profile of who they think is a likely suspect.

    The longer they spend building this profile the more likely they are to be convinced it's accurate. When they go to your apartment to question you, they don't walk away satisfied just because you have evidence of an alibi from 20 years ago (you did save that movie stub for the date you went on during the night of that murder you never committed and never realized you'd need to keep evidence you were busy all night during, right?). No, instead they walk away convinced you are lying and work harder to build the case against you.

    They don't generate any more evidence but that doesn't stop them from taking you to trial and convicting you on circumstantial evidence. You try to show the jury the DNA doesn't match closely enough (it's actually subjective, like fingerprints) but CSI has primed our culture to accept forensic evidence like objective science rather than the interpretive science that it's built upon so they aren't buying your expert's *opinion* versus the state's *opinion*. The detectives testify they took a 4 hour course in DNA matching...2 years beforehand...so of course they're well-qualified to ascertain DNA matches.

    Let's ignore the fact that even if you win against all the resources of the state trying to take your life away you are going to never be able to erase the stink of being an accused murderer will coat you in (where there's smoke, there must be fire, right?). Would you let your kids play at your neighbor's house afterwards if this happened to him?

    The law hasn't caught up to the reality that law enforcement can sift through landfill sized repositories of information with a few keystrokes. There's a reason our Constitution prohibits these kinds of dragnets. It's not a perfect solution, but long before any of this starts unraveling your life is when law enforcement is supposed to show up before a judge and get 3rd party eyes on the situation to ensure as best they can that all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed.
     
  17. mope54

    mope54 [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    7,437
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2004
    The way an agency member can obtain these data without warrants is because they are open to the public so any member of the "public" can search through it.

    Preventing these kinds of searches would only requiring making these data non-public, stating in TOS that searches can only be conducted within the parameters of finding relatives (delineating between "authorized" and "unauthorized" searches), and formalizing a standard within the TOS that customers can expect that law enforcement are not given these data for investigative purposes (thereby removing the "public" lack of expectation of privacy).
     
    GoldenTiger likes this.
  18. Tsumi

    Tsumi [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    13,007
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    How? Any cop (or cop's relative, or anyone for that matter) can submit DNA, saying that they are looking for relatives, and use that data to find said relatives for their investigation. Such services have an inherent lack of privacy, and the only way to maintain privacy is to have all relatives not use said service in the first place.
     
  19. scojer

    scojer 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    3,961
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2009

    Thank you for your explanation. I know that DNA isn't always a 100% match but the science has come a long way and it will keep evolving.
    What you put is a worst case scenario, which, is very possible.

    It's also possible that a DNA match comes up, and they run your background, find out you have absolutely no priors. Then they find out you have a brother/father who does, and then they put you on the back burner and investigate them a little closer.

    Either way I hope they use this method as a launchpad and do their own tests.
     
  20. Spidey329

    Spidey329 [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    8,677
    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2003
    I did a kit a few months back. A few things to note about DNA testing from my experience (23&me).

    - You can submit your information anonymously. Buy the kit with cash or a fake-named prepaid and fill the information out with fake names, they don't verify.

    - It's not just you, if anyone in your close family tree has submitted to a service, then they can make connections from there, even if *you* never submit to one. Object isn't to find Ted Bundy, it's to find the family they can start looking into.

    - You have to weigh your privacy vs. the information you will get out. If you're after just relatives and where you're from, it might not be worth it.

    - I did mine for health research - it was a real struggle as the kit sat unopened for 2 months as I weighed the benefits vs knowing I'm putting part of my DNA into a database. I got very valuable information from the raw data when I plugged it into some research tools. It enlightened me on why I am the way I am and that was well worth the potential loss of privacy or ability to be a serial killer.

    - This isn't an exact genome of your DNA. IIRC, the way they got this to be cheap (and mass processed) is by developing a chip that has about 600k nano sensors - essentially encoded silicon that reacts to a specific gene. So no-one is going to make a clone of you from the digital data, it's a limited subsample of known markers that are linked to known health traits.

    - The 23&me "upgrade" for the health info is just a graphical representation of what you can derive from free research tools. They give you the raw data regardless of the kit choice.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
    dangerouseddy likes this.
  21. mope54

    mope54 [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    7,437
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2004
    The other portion of this news that might alarm you is the company has agreed to do law enforcement's DNA testing.

    So our government agencies get to save money while private industry handles one of the most crucial steps in the evidentiary chain.

    Yes, I wrote out a worse case scenario while you provided a best case scenario. When it comes to taking someone's freedoms away, or executing them, our nation's history has been to err on the side of caution to prevent those worst case scenarios from happening as best we can even if that means we never get to realize the best case ones.

    The theory is that it's better to allow murderers to remain free than it is to execute or imprison even one innocent person.

    The less checks on government searches and seizures, the more we cede investigation to private industry, the more often we circumvent ordinary protections by doing these quasi-legal end-runs around them like this, the more likely we are to get the worst case cases instead of the best case ones.
     
    Armenius, GoldenTiger and scojer like this.
  22. Dodge245

    Dodge245 Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    182
    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2018

    This is old news(well atleast ive known about this for a while) Its not just the bad people doing the test that are getting caught, its family members doing the DNA test and FBI realising the Family Member who completed the test is related to a murderer/wanted person, then questioning the family to find there suspect.
     
  23. cattix

    cattix n00b

    Messages:
    20
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2018
    Catching criminals is a good goal, however, the sheer sneakines of this approach makes it reprehensible. You have a company which say profile is private, yet they share them with goverment agencies. Trustwothiness = down the drain.
     
  24. mynamehere

    mynamehere [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,764
    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    Well imagine my shock!
     
  25. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    7,378
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2004
    And that's also not how DNA works.

    If they submit your DNA sample for a crime, and they happen to match your cousin, they will not haul your cousin in for the crime.
    The DNA sample will show that a relative committed the crime.

    What they would then do is look at relatives of your cousin, especially anyone that might be an existing suspect.
    If they think you might have committed the crime, then they will get a sample you your DNA (like the next time you toss away a soda cup), and test it.
    Then they would arrest you for the crime, now that they have DNA proof.
     
    dangerouseddy and scojer like this.
  26. surlyroad

    surlyroad [H]Lite

    Messages:
    88
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2018
    I understand the outrage. But, having been in the military, the FBI already has my special double helices.

    It's kind of a drag, really. Every crime I've ever really thought about committing, it would just be way too hard to keep my fingerprints and DNA from the crime scene.
     
  27. mord

    mord Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    377
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    True, but DNA matching used for criminal cases don't 100% match every nucleotides place. They look for similar areas. At that level, there are quiet a few matches in people even with people that are not remotely related.
     
    ccwilder3 likes this.
  28. SecretStash

    SecretStash Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    495
    Joined:
    May 27, 2017
    They caught one guy, not because he took a test, instead he had a relative take the test.
     
  29. TordanGow

    TordanGow [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,061
    Joined:
    May 25, 2015
    Anything that CAN be used WILL eventually be misused.
     
    Runic likes this.
  30. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

    Messages:
    28,206
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2000
    Agreed. That's why I said what I said. I'm not quite sure how this will wind up being abused for other reasons, but I feel fairly certain it will, and that's why I am bothered by it, not because I am opposed to cops catching bad guys.
     
    Maddness and Runic like this.
  31. Ocellaris

    Ocellaris Ginger @le, an alcoholic's best friend.

    Messages:
    18,802
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    ...Except when your kids or other people related to you use these DNA kits, then you get busted...

    https://www.sacbee.com/latest-news/article209913514.html

    Also this article doesn’t indicate how many DNA results are handed I’ve with each request. Could be a small number of cases, however each represents a large handover of DNA.
     
  32. Tekara

    Tekara [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,949
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    Even better! Lets add in that just like finger printing, dna tests are frequently "confirmed" based on weak matching, taking advantage of the public belief of infallibility:

     
  33. ccwilder3

    ccwilder3 n00b

    Messages:
    35
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2017
    There has been two studies in the U.S. on coincidental DNA matches. The first was at a single prison where they had 256 matches out to 10 loci. They also had matches out to 12 loci. After that report came out one of the NE states( I believe it was Maryland) did a comparison of inmates in their system. The ratio of random matches stayed the same with one match at 13 loci which is suppose to be something like one in 17 trillion. After that study the state tried to do a similar study with the FBI database. The FBI refused to let them and threatened to deny them access to the database for any purpose permanently if they tried.

    These studies are available on the web.
     
  34. Deathroned

    Deathroned Gawd

    Messages:
    555
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2015
    They actually are, if you truly know what the FBI Truly Does.

    people like him don't think 10 steps ahead I am afraid.

    So you are telling me, Flu, TB, HIV, Aids, Zika Virus etc all came from nothing but thin air, if they get a sizable Sample of peoples DNA, they have just moved one step close to killing us all. and they will patent it, so nobody can come up with a cure, like they always do.
     
  35. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

    Messages:
    28,206
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2000
    Wait, you believeable illnesses are some sort of conspiracy?

    lnxelwoa9b901.jpg
     
    motomonkey likes this.
  36. cthulhuiscool

    cthulhuiscool 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,933
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    1349660771219.png
     
  37. WBurchnall

    WBurchnall 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,617
    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2009
    To both of you two, I am curious about what you see as the 'less noble causes' this will be used for. Are you talking about the purpose the member below suggests? That the government will use Family DNA's data to somehow to patent non-curable super virus's and kill us all? If not, what is this less noble cause? If they use the DNA to catch a robber armed who was injured during a crime and bleed a bit? or if they catch a jaywalker who had a nosebleed while jay-walking and the jay-walking was caught on camera? Seriously, I'm genuinely curious what you think the misuse of DNA evidence will be. Like what's a hypothetical scenario you guys see coming? Do you think fingerprinting (DNA's predecessor arguably) had significant misuse and if so, what?


    Quick question, did nobody ever get sick before the FBI came around? Did the FBI travel back in time and create small pox? How about the black plague? Was that the CIA's time machine or the NSAs? Or is all historical evidence of small pox and the Black Plague including books hundreds of years old verifiable with carbon dating really just fabricated by the Joseph Smith whose secretly a knight's templar working for the Illuminati? How about the Norwalk virus that's primarily transferred from human feces and humans failing to wash their hands properly after the washroom. Is that the DEA's doing? Is the 'Don't do drugs' message on every video game from the 1990s containing subliminal messaging telling you and others not to wash their hands so the norwalk virus would spread and make people sick?
     
    scojer likes this.
  38. babochee

    babochee Gawd

    Messages:
    598
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2008
    This gave me a chuckle because it reminded me of Cathy Newman taking on Jordan Peterson.
     
    Laowai and Extra-Titanian like this.
  39. motomonkey

    motomonkey [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,425
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    You seems to be under a misapprehension that detectives are hunched over a lab bench, comparing DNA profiles. That's a qualified lab techs job.

    That's not how it works, I see what you are TRYING to say, but man you are clear as mud.

    Fingerprints are compared based on points of similarity, to be considered a match, you have to have a certain number of points to rule out any other person.

    DNA is similar, but is based on the probability of a match, and identical genetic markers. for example a poor match would be a sample that could match 1 in 10000 persons. A high confidence match would be profiles that are 1 in 1000000000.
     
  40. exlink

    exlink [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    4,281
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2006
    It's not "coming soon" lmao. GINA was passed in 2008 that does not allow health insurance agencies to dictate your coverage/premiums based on your genetic information. It was passed by essentially landslides in both the House and Senate.

    It's also not "coming soon" because genetic information already is used to determine coverage for life and disability insurance when available.