DNA and the Golden State Killer

Dec 2015
18,795
18,196
Arizona
This ought to be interesting fodder for discussion.

The Golden State Killer is Tracked through a thicket of DNA

Genetic testing services have become enormously popular with people looking for long-lost relatives or clues to hereditary diseases. Most never imagined that one day intimate pieces of their DNA could be mined to assist police detectives in criminal cases.

Even as scientific experts applauded this week’s arrest of the Golden State Killer suspect, Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, some expressed unease on Friday at reports that detectives in California had used a public genealogy database to identify him. Privacy and ethical issues glossed over in the public’s rush to embrace DNA databases are now glaringly apparent, they said.

“This is really tough,” said Malia Fullerton, an ethicist at the University of Washington who studies DNA forensics. “He was a horrible man and it is good that he was identified, but does the end justify the means?”

The trail of the Golden State Killer had gone cold decades ago. The police had linked him to more than 50 rapes and 12 murders from 1976 to 1986, and he had eluded all attempts to find him.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/27/health/dna-privacy-golden-state-killer-genealogy.html

Enter GEDMatch.com, a relatively small, free service that allows users to upload and analyze their DNA sequences.
Relatively small doesn't begin to describe this TINY "company" run out of a "TINY" house by about 2 volunteers.
I have a feeling GED won't be tiny for long after this amazing FIND.

Now think of the implications.

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/04/gedmatch-a-tiny-dna-analysis-firm-was-key-for-golden-state-killer-case/
 
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RNG

Forum Staff
Apr 2013
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It is amazing to me that more people haven't looked at this. I think that the reporter was right on when they said that he was a horrible man so in this case they are taking an end justifies the means attitude.

But as you said, the implications are scary.

Time for the famous "if you didn't do anything wrong you don't have anything to worry about" meme?
 
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Mar 2013
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EXACTLY WHY I have not sent in a DNA sample. I have nothing to hide. BUT, from the day I saw the first ad for these services I have wondered how long till law enforcement found a way to use the data bases begin created. How long til they served a search warrant on one or more of these services ??? In this case didn't even need a warranty. It was all right there in the public domain for anyone to see.
 
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Dec 2015
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Arizona
It is amazing to me that more people haven't looked at this. I think that the reporter was right on when they said that he was a horrible man so in this case they are taking an end justifies the means attitude.

But as you said, the implications are scary.

Time for the famous "if you didn't do anything wrong you don't have anything to worry about" meme?


Are we're BACK to privacy v security?? People HAVE TO KNOW that our privacy will always take second place to security...don't they?

AND again, if there's nothing to hide?? I would really like to do my ancestry because my mother's side has/had no clue. They've just repeated the same information their parents gave them and their parents gave them. I've talked to too many people who have been amazed at what these ancestry places have discovered.
We've got a blue-eyed, tow-headed 3 yr old grandson and we're all like....huh?? Must be a throwback somewhere.
 
Jul 2014
15,612
9,707
massachusetts
Privacy?
Where nearly everyone carries something that can give their exact location, and turn on a microphone and a camera at any time.

And there are DNA Databases that augment the commercial databases.
Get a close match, you can check birth records to determine who is closely related, that's all there now.

This isn't the days when you could load 50 lbs of beans and flour on your mule and disappear into the wilderness.

Everyone needs ID to work, that was something the NAZIs required, it could never happen here.
I had to upgrade my drivers license to RealID, Birth Cert, proof of residence, several forms of identification.

The tradeoff is some measure of security....
 
Nov 2012
5,758
3,491
Kekistan
Are we're BACK to privacy v security?? People HAVE TO KNOW that our privacy will always take second place to security...don't they?

AND again, if there's nothing to hide?? I would really like to do my ancestry because my mother's side has/had no clue. They've just repeated the same information their parents gave them and their parents gave them. I've talked to too many people who have been amazed at what these ancestry places have discovered.
We've got a blue-eyed, tow-headed 3 yr old grandson and we're all like....huh?? Must be a throwback somewhere.
I disagree. Privacy and rights should never take a back seat to the illusion of security. I would think years of the war on drugs would demonstrate that. Years of the patriot act should demonstrate. But, you do come from a political point of totalitarianism and advocate for less individual rights. So since you are obviously a collectivist I do understand why you believe such nonsense.
 
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Dec 2015
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I disagree. Privacy and rights should never take a back seat to the illusion of security. I would think years of the war on drugs would demonstrate that. Years of the patriot act should demonstrate. But, you do come from a political point of totalitarianism and advocate for less individual rights. So since you are obviously a collectivist I do understand why you believe such nonsense.

Your reading comp is really the pits. I asked a question so you disagree with my question?? AND somehow that equates to my fight against individual rights??

If I am a collectivist who:
Promotes selflessness and sees the community needs equal to those of individual needs
Works with a group to support others
Wants to do what's best for our society-our country
Wants families and communities to share a central role---then YEP I am.

BTW, you don't need to answer. Sabcat will do it for you...as usual.
 
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Nov 2013
2,752
1,201
NM
& now, a word from our sponsors

It is amazing to me that more people haven't looked at this. I think that the reporter was right on when they said that he was a horrible man so in this case they are taking an end justifies the means attitude.

But as you said, the implications are scary.

Time for the famous "if you didn't do anything wrong you don't have anything to worry about" meme?
If you want to get a jump start on thinking about genetics, tracking, forensics, etc. - you might read some science fiction:

Larry Niven - The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton series, A gift from Earth, etc.
C. J. Cherryh - Cyteen & related - Downbelow Station

There are many more SF authors who dabble in these topics - but these two broke a lot of ground & explained things along the way. Niven is also good on the Mother Wars, longevity, luck in human affairs, medical research in general (& impacts on humanity), corpse-sickles ...
 

RNG

Forum Staff
Apr 2013
40,099
27,915
La La Land North
If you want to get a jump start on thinking about genetics, tracking, forensics, etc. - you might read some science fiction:

Larry Niven - The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton series, A gift from Earth, etc.
C. J. Cherryh - Cyteen & related - Downbelow Station

There are many more SF authors who dabble in these topics - but these two broke a lot of ground & explained things along the way. Niven is also good on the Mother Wars, longevity, luck in human affairs, medical research in general (& impacts on humanity), corpse-sickles ...
I"ve read a lot of Niven. But I don't know Cherryh at all.
 
Dec 2013
33,811
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Beware of watermelons
EXACTLY WHY I have not sent in a DNA sample. I have nothing to hide. BUT, from the day I saw the first ad for these services I have wondered how long till law enforcement found a way to use the data bases begin created. How long til they served a search warrant on one or more of these services ??? In this case didn't even need a warranty. It was all right there in the public domain for anyone to see.
I have always thought that was the goal.of these things and everytime i am at someone's house w/ network tv the adds are all drugs and DNA. But no. There is nothing nefarious about these things.