Law enforcement seeks out private DNA databases

Privacy experts worry about government access to companies' data

By PAUL ELIAS, Associated Press

AP

SAN FRANCISCO - Investigators are broadening their DNA searches beyond government databases and demanding genetic information from companies that do ancestry research for customers.

Two major companies that research family lineage for fees around $200 say that over the last two years, they have received law enforcement demands for genetic information stored in their DNA databases.

Ancestry.com and competitor 23andme report a total of five requests from law agencies for the genetic material of six individuals in their growing databases of hundreds of thousands.

Idaho police requested DNA help from Ancestry.com in 2014 during an investigation into the murder and rape of an 18-year-old woman in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

The companies say law enforcement demands for genetic information are rare, but privacy experts are concerned a new trend in DNA searches has started.

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