Data privacy continues to title the headlines when it comes to the latest news on data. Recently, however, it seems that data privacy worked in a positive manner, in which it helped to track a murderer. According to the Wall Street Journal article attached authorites used a DNA website by the name of “GEDmatch” GEDmatch is a website that stores your DNA and other genetic information in order to make tracking your relatives easier. The problem with this, there is no way to stop relatives from uploading DNA that could ultimately be traced back to you. As it turns out, that is just about exactly what happened in the Sacramento murder case. Authorites were able to track down DNA through the suspects relatives, in which he most likely had no prior knowledge of his DNA being in an online database, searchable by just about anyone.
Typically, law enforcements use their own databases when searching for DNA evidence when solving cases. Though, recently there have been controversial case filings against various law enforcement centers arguing that police databases are bias and contain more DNA information for minorities, therefore they are much more likely to be found in the system than someone without previous convictions and/or family convictions. GEDmatch is a website that primarily focuses on connecting people with each other through their personal ethnic backgrounds, hence their idea of uploading your own information, rather than having it uploaded by the state or other law enforcement facilities.
Personally, I think that it was a very clever idea to target GEDmatch when searching, because a lot of the DNA that was placed in their database is uploaded by people who are more likely than not uploading it for personal reasons. That opens up a whole new sample size for testing, not only can law enforcements use their own DNA databases to piece together mysteries, they can also now tap into this whole other database that may contain critical information that someone may not have even known they put online. On the other hand, I do understand that this does bring into question how private is your data. There could be DNA information just sitting in a public database that you had no idea was there, and the person who uploaded it probably had no intention of invading your privacy. As more and more data like this is stored and analyzed, the more subject it becomes to hackers and other information thieves.