Do You Know How Private Your DNA Data Is?

Law enforcement used a genealogy site to help identify a suspect in the Golden State Killer case, and that has people worried about their privacy.

Do You Know How Private Your DNA Data Is?
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Law enforcement used a program called GEDmatch and discarded DNA to help identify a suspect in the Golden State Killer case. And that's raising concerns about how private DNA data collected from at-home tests actually is.

GEDmatch comes right out with it, saying in a statement that while the database is intended for genealogical research, "it is important that GEDmatch participants understand the possible uses of their DNA, including identification of relatives that have committed crimes or were victims of crimes."

A cotton swab used for DNA testing is placed into an envelope

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Only registered users have access to that information, but anyone can make an account — all you need is a name, email address and password.

GEDmatch also said it doesn't show anyone's DNA on the site but that it does show "manipulations of data such as DNA matches."

DNA home-testing company 23andMe said its policy is to "resist" law enforcement inquiries in order to protect users' privacy but that it would abide by subpoenas and warrants if necessary. 

Even though DNA testing is becoming more popular, Jeremy Gruber, former president of the nonprofit Council for Responsible Genetics, told CNN privacy laws haven't "caught up with some of the new uses of personal information."