DeAngelo accused of 13 murders, nearly 50 rapes
❝ Everyone’s DNA sequence is unique. But for those who wish to maintain their genetic privacy, it may not be unique enough.
A new study argues that more than half of Americans could be identified by name if all you had to start with was a sample of their DNA and a few basic facts, such as the region where they live and about how old they might be.
❝ One of them is the rise of direct-to-consumer genetic testing. Companies such as Ancestry.com and 23andMe can sequence anyone’s DNA for about $100. All you have to do is provide a sample of saliva and drop it in the mail.
The other essential element is the proliferation of publicly searchable genealogy databases like GEDmatch. Anyone can upload a full genome to these sites and powerful computers will crunch through it, looking for stretches of matching DNA sequences that can be used to build out a family tree.
❝ So far, 72-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo is the most famous person to be identified this way. You may know him better as the suspected Golden State Killer, charged with 13 counts of murder and 13 counts of attempted kidnapping…Since then, at least 13 additional suspected criminals have been identified in the same way…
“When the police caught the Golden State Killer, that was a very good day for humanity,” Columbia University computer scientist Yaniv Erlich said. “The problem is that the very same strategy can be misused.”
I tire of timorous mice who whine about the potential misuse of scientific procedures as if they are automatically destined to be implemented by an evil government. The solution is to regulate governments before they can grow evil, crap governments run by fools, reactionary governments voted into office by the ignorant and fearful.
Want to protect our privacy? Quit electing pimps for corporations which profit from abusing privacy. Get off your rusty dusty and spend a little time and political energy working to guarantee privacy. That won’t come from a line or two of patented code; but, by keeping an eye on the human beings who profit from sleazy government.