Over the past few years, people have been flocking to companies like Ancestry and 23andMe to find out their genetic makeup. To find out, you send in a swab of your saliva to the companies to see what areas of the world your ancestors came from. However, now it has come to light that the police can request your DNA from the genealogy companies for investigations.
Both Ancestry and 23andMe confirmed that they will turn over your genetic information to law enforcement if a warrant is presented. However, according to Action News Jax, the laws have sent five requests to 23andMe for five American customers, but the company has yet to turn over the information. On the other hand, Ancestry has self-reported that the company has “complied with a 2014 search warrant to identify a customer based on a DNA sample.”
Furthermore, you don’t even have to have used either of the services for police to request them for your DNA. Action News Jax reports:
But it doesn’t even have to be your DNA; if a family member who shipped off their saliva to one of these companies, law enforcement can request their genetic information for “familial matching.”
According to Jacksonville Dr. Saman Soleymani (who has studied genetics extensively and been an expert witness in local criminal cases), “They can see what the likelihood is of these certain alleles, of these genetic markers, matching up to make it — likelihood of whether you were involved in, let’s say, that criminal activity or not.”
There is good news, though. Both Ancestry and 23andMe allow users to delete their DNA results.