Sharing DNA with the Law Enforcement: FamilyTree DNA Revisited

Jan Meisels Allen


The Wall Street Journal had an article on August 23 about FamilyTree DNA being approached by the FBI requestiong uploading DNA for two casaes to see if there were genetic links to other users. The two cases involved a dead child whose body was never claimed and other was from a  rape scene. Bennett Greespan is interviewed as why he made the decision he did and the further involvment with law enforcement –50 agencies--and the  resulting changes in terms of service and creation of an advisory panel.  Less than 2 percent of customers requested opting out of the law-enforcement searches.The article also addresses the privacy concerns for those who believe a court order/warrant is needed to do the comparison in genetic genealogy. The issue of other family members included by the submission of the DNA test which could be compared with the DNA sample from law enforcement is also addressed.


In addition to Bennett Greenspan, Stefani Elkort Twyford, president of the Greater Houston Jewish Genealogical Society, is also quoted.


Thank you to Saul Issroff for sharing the article with us.


Jan Meisels Allen

Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee





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