I'm a crime-fighter, says FamilyTreeDNA boss after being caught giving folks' DNA data to FBI

www.theregister.co.uk | 2/1/2019 | Staff
itsdonaldk (Posted by) Level 3
Click For Photo: https://regmedia.co.uk/2019/02/01/greenspan-familytreedna.jpg

Comment Some would argue he has broken every ethical and moral rule of his in his profession, but genealogist Bennett Greenspan prefers to see himself as a crime-fighter.

"I spent many, many nights and many, many weekends thinking of what privacy and confidentiality would mean to a genealogist such as me," the founder and president of FamilyTreeDNA says in a video that appeared online yesterday.

Anything - Trust - Customers - Time - Customers

He continues: "I would never do anything to betray the trust of my customers and at the same time I felt it important to enable my customers to crowd source the catching of criminals."

The video and surrounding press release went out at 10.30pm on Thursday. Funnily enough, just a couple of hours earlier, BuzzFeed offered a very different take on Greenspan's philanthropy. "One Of The Biggest At-Home DNA Testing Companies Is Working With The FBI," reads the headline.

FamilyTreeDNA - Features - Sample - DNA - Biz

Here's how FamilyTreeDNA works, if you don't know: among other features, you submit a sample of your DNA to the biz, and it will tell you if you're related to someone else who has also submitted their genetic blueprint. It's supposed to find previously unknown relatives, check parentage, and so on.

And so, by crowd sourcing, what Greenspan means is that he has reached an agreement with the FBI to allow the agency to create new profiles on his system using DNA collected from, say, corpses, crime scenes, and suspects. These can then be compared with genetic profiles in the company's database to locate and track down relatives of suspects and victims, if not the suspects and victims themselves.

Approach - Policy - Customers - Information - Party

He insists that this approach "does not change our policy never to sell or barter our customers’ private information with a third party" because it doesn't give the Feds access to information beyond an ordinary user.

"We came to the conclusion that if law...
(Excerpt) Read more at: www.theregister.co.uk
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