DNA policy experts said the development was likely to encourage other agencies to request similar search warrants from 23andMe, which has 10 million users, and Ancestry.com, which has 15 million. If that comes to pass, the Florida judge’s decision will affect not only the users of these sites but huge swaths of the population, including those who have never taken a DNA test. That’s because this emerging forensic technique makes it possible to identify a DNA profile even through distant family relationships. […] Genetic genealogy experts said that until now, the law enforcement community had been deliberately cautious about approaching the consumer sites with court orders: If users get spooked and abandon the sites, they will become much less useful to investigators. Barbara Rae-Venter, a genetic genealogist who works with law enforcement, described the situation as “Don’t rock the boat.” A spokesman for 23andMe said in a statement: “We never share customer data with law enforcement unless we receive a legally valid request such as a search warrant or written court order. Upon receipt of an inquiry from law enforcement, we use all practical legal measures to challenge such requests in order to protect our customers’ privacy.” Ancestry.com did not respond to request for comment.
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An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times: Last week, a Florida detective announced at a police convention that he had obtained a warrant to penetrate GEDmatch and search its full database of nearly one million users. Legal experts said that this appeared to be the first time a judge had approved such a warrant, and that the development could have profound implications for genetic privacy. “That’s a huge game-changer,” said Erin Murphy, a law professor at New York University. “The company made a decision to keep law enforcement out, and that’s been overridden by a court. It’s a signal that no genetic information can be safe.”