Genealogy Site Helps Police Nab Alleged Golden State Killer, Raising Concerns Among Privacy Experts
Investigators took DNA collected years ago from one of the crime scenes and submitted it in some form to one or more commercial genealogy websites that have built up a vast database of consumer genetic information. The results led law enforcement to the suspected killer’s distant relatives.
What Does The Golden State Killer Arrest Mean For Genetic Privacy?
The identity of one of California’s most notorious serial killers had been a mystery for decades — until this week, when law enforcement arrested a suspect. Investigators revealed on Thursday that they made the breakthrough using a remarkable tool: a commercial genealogy website. The unusual manner in which the Golden State Killer case was cracked has sparked wonderment — as well as privacy concerns about how law enforcement can and does use the genetic information that consumers give up to genetic testing companies. That’s because companies generally say on their websites that a customer’s genetic information can be shared with law enforcement if demanded with a warrant. (Robbins, 4/26)
East Area Rapist: Questions About Use Of DNA From Genealogy Sites
Millions of Americans are doing it – packing up samples of their saliva and mailing it off to an online genealogy company to analyze their DNA and help trace their family tree. Without knowing it, they may be helping law enforcement crack difficult cases. (Kasler and Chabria, 4/26)
The Associated Press:
A Look At DNA Testing That ID’d A Suspected Serial Killer
Joseph James DeAngelo, who authorities suspect is the so-called Golden State Killer responsible for at least a dozen murders and 50 rapes in the 1970s and 80s, was arrested more than three decades after the last killing with the help of information from an online genealogical site. Investigators haven’t disclosed many key elements about how and why they took this very unusual step to find a suspect. Here’s a look at the case and some of the questions surrounding it. (Balsamo, 4/27)
The New York Times:
Do Serial Killers Just Stop? Yes, Sometimes
The Golden State Killer’s barrage of rapes and murders began in a gold mining area east of Sacramento in 1976. By 1986, it seemed to have stopped.Why? With the arrest Tuesday of Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, who has been charged so far with eight counts of murder, more than 30 years had passed since the last episode in the series. That long period of quiescence seems to fly in the face of the popular belief that serial rapists and killers are incapable of stopping. (Hoffman, 4/26)