🎧 ‘The Daily’: The Hunt for the Golden State Killer | New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: The Hunt for the Golden State Killer by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

Paul Holes was on the verge of retirement, having never completed his decades-long mission to catch the Golden State Killer. Then he had an idea: Upload DNA evidence to a genealogy website.

On today’s episode:

• Paul Holes, an investigator in California who helped to crack the case.

Background reading:

• A spate of murders and rapes across California in the 1970s and 1980s went unsolved for decades. Then, last week, law enforcement officials arrested Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, a former police officer.

• Investigators submitted DNA collected at a crime scene to the genealogy website GEDmatch, through which they were able to track down distant relatives of the suspect. The method has raised concerns about privacy and ethics.

A stunning story with some ingenious detective work. I worry what the potential privacy problems are off in the future, though one of the ideas here is that it actually helps protect the privacy of some individuals who are wrongly and maliciously accused and thus saves a lot of time and money.

The subtleties will be when we’re using this type of DNA evidence more frequently for lower level crimes while at the same time the technology gets increasingly cheaper to carry out.

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👓 The first step in finding Golden State Killer suspect: Finding his great-great-great-grandparents on genealogy site | LA Times

Read The first step in finding Golden State Killer suspect: Finding his great-great-great-grandparents on genealogy site (latimes.com)
The clue that led investigators this week to the door of the suspected Golden State Killer came from an unexpected source: GEDmatch.com — an amateur genealogy website that’s something like the Wikipedia of DNA.
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👓 How a Genealogy Website Led to the Alleged Golden State Killer | The Atlantic

Read How a Genealogy Website Led to the Alleged Golden State Killer (The Atlantic)
Powerful tools are now available to anyone who wants to look for a DNA match, which has troubling privacy implications.

I find this mechanics relating to privacy in this case to be extremely similar to Facebook’s leak of data via Cambridge Analytica. Something crucial to your personal identity can be accidentally leaked out or be made discoverable to others by the actions of your closest family members.

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