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Privacy Issues Within Law Enforcement & DNA Applications

  • Room: Ballroom A
Wednesday,September 25, 2019:3:00 PM -4:00 PM


Tina Delgado
Biometrics Analysis Section Chief
Federal Bureau of Investigation Laboratory
Janice Kephart
Identity Strategy Partners


The FBI is in the final stages of implementing the Rapid DNA Act of 2017.  Rapid DNA devices are commercial devices that  generate a CODIS DNA profile in under two hours.  Rapid technology has been developed over the last ten years will have a tremendous impact on law enforcement, bringing DNA analysis and database searching to the booking station while an arrestee is in custody.  More recently, emerging direct to consumer DNA technology has added new genetic genealogy searching capabilities that can be leveraged by law enforcement to solve  violent crimes.   Data from these tests were used to develop the Golden State Killer’s identity by constructing a family tree from publicly available data.  This technique is raising new legal concerns from bioethics and privacy perspectives because the data used are voluntarily given by people with the intent of entertainment, find missing family members, learn about their health, or learning about their family’s origin. People who use commercial DNA databases may not have realized they were agreeing to law enforcement searches, or that by uploading their DNA, they could implicate their 300 closest relatives in a crime.  Finally, more complex DNA sequencing technologies are a potential tool for law enforcement to use in the analysis of smaller amounts of DNA, complex mixtures and highly degraded evidence.