Law Enforcement Genealogical Searching: A Legitimate Crime Solving Tool or An Unauthorized Intrusion into a Family’s Genetic Privacy?

Tuesday September 25th, 2018 // 2:10 pm - 3:30 pm // North Ballroom

“Genealogical Searching” in online ancestry DNA databases is the latest genetic investigative tool harnessed by law enforcement to solve violent crimes, and the technique could be used routinely to protect society by identifying perpetrators through their relative’s genetic DNA data. Unlike the national law enforcement DNA database that is governed by federal law, regulations and procedures, law enforcement’s use of DNA databases containing voluntarily submitted genetic data for personal ancestry searches has resulted in concerns that entire families could come under suspicion. The public access genealogy or ancestry DNA databases used are not subject to the same access and use regulation as national and state law enforcement DNA databases.

What protections are available for these online ancestry DNA databases? Do family members have a right to genetic privacy or a right to protect their genetic data? These and other issues are raised in the Los Angeles Times article False starts in search for Golden State Killer reveal the pitfalls of DNA testing, (B. Oreskes, J. Serna and R. Winton, 05/04/2018). A panel of legal and genetic privacy experts will discuss privacy, legal and policy implications concerning the use of open source genealogical sites by law enforcement for public safety purposes.


Private: Thomas Callaghan

FBI Laboratory’s Biometric Analysis Section

As a member of the FBI DNA Analysis Unit, Thomas Callaghan was involved in the analysis of hundreds of homicide and rape cases. In 1999, Dr. Callaghan initiated the FBI’s Federal Convicted Offender DNA Database. In 2003, he became the first CODIS Unit Chief and has been involved with the CODIS Program for over 20 years.

Private: David Kaye

Professor of Law, Penn State University

David H. Kaye is Distinguished Professor of Law and a member of the graduate faculty in Forensic Science at the Pennsylvania State University as well as Regents’ Professor Emeritus of Law and Life Sciences, Arizona State University. He holds degrees in law (Yale University), astronomy (Harvard University), and physics (MIT).

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Private: Craig Klugman

Professor of Bioethics and Health Humanities, Department of Health Sciences at DePaul University

Craig M. Klugman, Ph.D. is a professor of bioethics and health humanities at in the Department of Health Sciences at DePaul University where he also co-directs the Bioethics & Society program.

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Private: Eric Rosenbaum

Chief of DNA Prosecutions, Queens County District Attorney’s Office

Eric Rosenbaum has been a prosecutor in New York City since 1994 and has served as Chief of DNA Prosecutions at the Queens County District Attorney’s Office since 2004.  He is also Deputy Chief of the Special Victims Bureau and a senior legislative advisor to NYS District Attorneys Association for whom he co-chairs the legislative committee on sex crimes and family violence

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Private: Andrea Roth

Professor of Law, UC Berkeley

Andrea Roth is Professor of Law at UC Berkeley, and a faculty director of the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology. She has lectured nationally on forensic issues, particularly related to DNA. She is a member of the Constitution Project’s National Committee on DNA Collection and a member of the Legal Resource Committee of NIST’s Forensic Science Standards Board.

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