Recent News Articles

Cops Are Getting a New Tool For Family-Tree Sleuthing

16 Dec 2020 8:09 PM | Anonymous

Growing genetic databases have proven to be rich resources for discovering distant relatives, However, law enforcement agencies have perhaps been the biggest benefactors of this biometric boom.

An article by Megan Molteni in the web site describes the process the recent rise of genetic genealogy—a technique that makes it possible to identify people through relatives who have added their genetic information to genealogy databases—changed the odds. A skilled genetic genealogist can now turn an unknown DNA profile that strikes out in traditional forensic searches into a suspect’s name nearly half of the time that it used to require. That article may be found at

In addition, a different article by the same person (Megan Molteni) published 2 years ago in the same web site describes the risks involved in the same investigations by law enforcement personnel. The older article focuses in the intrusion into your personal privacy created by such investigations. This is especially true even if you have never taken a DNA test. In short, the government can discover most everything about you, your ancestors, and your relatives. That includes your rather distant relatives.

The second article is available at

Which is more important to you and to other citizens: solving often violent crimes or protecting your personal privacy against massive  government spying, even if you were not involved in the crime?

Are you in favor of "Big Brother" watching you?

I don't know the answer to those questions but I believe those are questions we all need to think about. I suggest everyone should read these 2 somewhat contradictory articles by the same person and then decide what is more important: personal privacy or wide-open access to everyone's ancestry and relatives in the name of solving crimes?


  • 4 Jan 2021 3:36 PM | Anonymous
    To me, this is one of the toughest privacy issues of our day.

    I think it's even more complicated than encrypted phones and messages. Tech companies have received major pressure to add back doors into phones so they can serve warrants.

    Personally, I'd be happy to allow my DNA to be used to solve crime, but it feels like it's an extremely slippery slope.
    Link  •  Reply

Blog posts

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software