DNA privacy concerns increase after suspected rapist and killer found in California

9 months 2 weeks 6 days ago Tuesday, May 01 2018 May 1, 2018 Tuesday, May 01, 2018 1:52:00 PM CDT May 01, 2018 in News
By: Dallas Parker, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

Columbia - After the arrest of a suspected serial rapist and killer in California. Some are concerned that their genetic information, especially DNA, is available for public use. 

Rodney Uphoff, MU Law School, said this DNA often makes or breaks criminal cases. 

"DNA can be a vehicle that allows an innocent person to not be prosecuted, or sometimes someone's being convicted and DNA isn't  found or tested until after they've already been convicted."

Some crimes, like the case of the Golden State Killer, can be tipped off by DNA of a relative. 

A local metagenomicist, Aaron Ericsson, said its as simple as a person submitting a  DNA sample to track his or her family tree.

"Theoretically, our DNA shouldn't be available just for general purposes. People shouldn't be able to just get on a database and browse through our DNA sequences. But there's a bunch of ancestry-type sites now and different services that offer profiling of specific cancer risks genes or just tracking down your ancestry," Ericsson said. "There are different depositories out there that are starting to amass some DNA sequences from individuals who have submitted their samples. But I think it's an open question as to how accessible those databases are  to other folks wanting to go in and look at this data."

Uphoff said some DNA samples are collected and not tested for decades and that, in itself, is problematic.

"We need to do a better job in collecting DNA early on and preserving it in a way that doesn't contaminate it in some fashion," Uphoff said. "If I was spending criminal justice dollars, it would be more effective to rely on DNA rather than eyewitness sightings. DNA makes it more likely to hold the right guy responsible."

According to CNN, the suspected Golden State Killer was discovered through his cousin's DNA on a genetic database called GEDmatch. Some question their right to privacy but GEDmatch's terms and conditions notes that measures are taken "to ensure that only registered users have access to your results, but those measures have not been and never will be perfect. Direct access to your data is available to GEDmatch personnel, including volunteers, on a need to know basis." 

Ericsson said DNA, if analyzed correctly, can trace back to even the most distant of relatives. 

Currently, there are no laws prohibiting the use of DNA from online databases in relation to criminal cases. 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Another week in Missouri in the 2018-2019 winter weather season means another winter storm system. This particular system... More >>
1 hour ago Tuesday, February 19 2019 Feb 19, 2019 Tuesday, February 19, 2019 4:30:00 PM CST February 19, 2019 in Weather
COLUMBIA - Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Missouri, visited Boone Hospital Center on Tuesday to learn about its initiatives in fighting the... More >>
1 hour ago Tuesday, February 19 2019 Feb 19, 2019 Tuesday, February 19, 2019 4:27:00 PM CST February 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Investigators are again asking for the public's help finding a man charged in a January murder. 60-year-old... More >>
2 hours ago Tuesday, February 19 2019 Feb 19, 2019 Tuesday, February 19, 2019 3:33:00 PM CST February 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Job Point will receive a $1.1 million grant to assist with its YouthBuild Program. The money will... More >>
3 hours ago Tuesday, February 19 2019 Feb 19, 2019 Tuesday, February 19, 2019 2:42:00 PM CST February 19, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A home that was filled with 24 years of happy memories for one family is now at... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, February 19 2019 Feb 19, 2019 Tuesday, February 19, 2019 1:32:00 PM CST February 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A former Columbia business owner who served in World War II celebrated his 100th birthday on Tuesday, surprised... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, February 19 2019 Feb 19, 2019 Tuesday, February 19, 2019 1:20:00 PM CST February 19, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Mothers advocating for gun control rallied at the state Capitol Tuesday. The Missouri Chapter of Moms... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, February 19 2019 Feb 19, 2019 Tuesday, February 19, 2019 1:19:00 PM CST February 19, 2019 in News
MONITEAU - Deputies arrested a woman Friday after she allegedly tried to sneak methamphetamine into the Tipton Correctional Center. ... More >>
7 hours ago Tuesday, February 19 2019 Feb 19, 2019 Tuesday, February 19, 2019 10:41:00 AM CST February 19, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America will bring more than four... More >>
11 hours ago Tuesday, February 19 2019 Feb 19, 2019 Tuesday, February 19, 2019 5:52:00 AM CST February 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA – Mid-Missourians have already witnessed several snow and ice events this season. The next round is expected late Tuesday... More >>
15 hours ago Tuesday, February 19 2019 Feb 19, 2019 Tuesday, February 19, 2019 1:57:00 AM CST February 19, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A House bill would make sure teachers who have a record of sexual misconduct cannot jump from... More >>
18 hours ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 11:00:00 PM CST February 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA- The Columbia City Council passed an ordinance Monday, that will require all tobacco retailers to register for a license... More >>
18 hours ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 10:57:00 PM CST February 18, 2019 in News
WAYNESVILLE - The Pulaski County Prosecutor filed charges against a suspect after he allegedly attacked a man with a knife.... More >>
18 hours ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 10:53:00 PM CST February 18, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - There is a "true emergency" right now at the southern border, a Missouri congressman said Monday. ... More >>
21 hours ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 8:04:00 PM CST February 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia Police confirmed the man involved in the deadly crash over the weekend has been in more than... More >>
23 hours ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 6:18:00 PM CST February 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Mid-Missourians have had to adjust their daily lives to the cold weather for weeks now. For some people,... More >>
1 day ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 4:25:00 PM CST February 18, 2019 in News
COLE COUNTY - From not answering their cell phones, to trying multiple apps and buying equipment for their landline, phone... More >>
1 day ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 4:16:00 PM CST February 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Officers Association on Monday endorsed Columbia Mayor Brian Treece for re-election at a press conference... More >>
1 day ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 3:44:00 PM CST February 18, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 31°
6pm 32°
7pm 32°
8pm 32°
9pm 31°