On Friday, police finally arrested a suspect in the savage stabbing and murder of four University of Idaho students in November. According to law enforcement, 28-year-old criminology graduate student Bryan Christopher Kohberger was identified through DNA sourced from a public genealogy database. Kohberger’s arrest is a relief to Americans across the country, particularly the victims’ families and the traumatized Moscow, Idaho community. However, it is also a reminder that DNA technology is a dangerously unaddressed issue that poses a threat to personal freedoms, privacy, and safety.
Many wave away the privacy concerns because DNA has been used to catch criminals, including alleged murderers like Kohberger, but there’s no guarantee this technology will always be used for good. No institution on earth is incorruptible, and the FBI, CIA, and DHS have already illegally weaponized their power against the American people.
In response to alarm and outrage from users over the privacy violation, GEDmatch decided people would have the option to “opt-in” to allowing law enforcement to access their DNA. The hope was that the “opt-in” mechanism would protect the privacy of users who did not wish for their information to be shared. However, in the fall of 2019, a warrant by law enforcement in Florida demanded access to all of GEDmatch’s DNA profiles, including users who had not opted to give law enforcement access. GEDmatch complied with the warrant.