This weekend, GEDmatch changed its Terms of Service to automatically opt every one of the >1,250,000 kits in the database out of matching with any kit uploaded for law enforcement purposes. This was to allay concerns by some that law enforcement was using DNA kits in the GEDmatch database, whether for crimes originally enumerated in the Terms of Service (homicide and sexual assault) and/or possibly for lesser crimes.
There is a ton of media coverage for these events:
- “The Arrest Of A Teen On An Assault Charge Has Sparked New Privacy Fears About DNA Sleuthing“
- “This Genealogy Database Helped Solve Dozens Of Crimes. But Its New Privacy Rules Will Restrict Access By Cops“
- “‘It could leave a murderer running on the streets’: How a DNA database’s new policy is changing police access“
- “DNA database opts a million people out from police searches“
And blog posts:
- “GedMatch Implements Required Opt-In for Law Enforcement Matching” from Roberta Estes
- “The choice that really isn’t” from Judy Russell
People in the database that want their DNA to be utilized by law enforcement must now specifically opt-in their kit in order for their DNA to be matched with a kit uploaded by law enforcement.
Following the automatic opt-out and the change to the ToS, law enforcement can now upload DNA to “identify a perpetrator of a violent crime against another individual, where ‘violent crime’ is defined as murder, nonnegligent manslaughter, aggravated rape, robbery, or aggravated assault.” However, kits that are opted-out will not be seen as a match to the uploaded law enforcement kit. Kits that are opted-in can be seen as a match to the uploaded law enforcement kit.