Seems as though half of the people I talk to are having or have had DNA testing to determine their family tree and their genetic makeup. Even some of my own family have done it and recently learned we are not Native American, contrary to what we had all been told. It is a popular Christmas gift and is as simple as swabbing your cheek and dropping it in the mail. Although interesting, what are the further implications of this? Recently, California made big news by using DNA genetic genealogy to identify the Golden State Killer after decades of his identity being unknown. Even more recent, Pennsylvania used the technology to solve a cold case from 1992 where a teacher was raped and murdered.
Clearly, I hope everyone will agree, that we want violent murderers and rapists to be identified and locked up, but it begs the question of how far will things go? By sending in to have your DNA tested are you putting your children’s privacy at risk for the future? Could you be helping law enforcement to catch a family member who committed a crime years ago? Certainly right now law enforcement does not have the capability or time to have DNA from every crime of any kind to be tested, but technology has come a long way and will continue to advance. The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees that we should be secure in against unreasonable search and seizures by the government/law enforcement; however, when you voluntarily provide your DNA you’re giving up many of those rights for yourself and your family. You’re also giving someone else the ability to potentially frame you for a crime. I have laughed at a meme on social media about how your hairdresser could plant your hair at a crime scene so be nice to them, but with this new DNA genetic genealogy are we really making that a reality?
These are things I think about while laying in bed reading articles on my phone instead of going to sleep as I should. Below is an interesting article about the Pennsylvania case.