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Thread: New TOS at GEDmatch 18 May 2019 for law enforcement matching

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    New TOS at GEDmatch 18 May 2019 for law enforcement matching

    GEDmatch has a new TOS, which you must accept in order to log in. Once logged in, you will see some new choices about the matching process.

    EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, ALL DNA KITS DEFAULT TO BE OPTED-OUT OF MATCHING BY LAW ENFORCEMENT. YOU CAN SET A KIT TO OPT-IN FOR MATCHING BY LAW ENFORCEMENT BY CLICKING ON THE "POLICE" OR "PENCIL" ICONS TO THE RIGHT OF THE KIT NUMBER ON THIS PAGE, IF YOU DESIRE TO DO SO.

    KITS WITHOUT ANY "POLICE" ICON ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT MATCHING.

    We encourage everybody to select the first option, "public opt-in", for kits that they manage, unless you have specific reasons to choose one of the other options. There are thousands of families depending on GEDmatch for closure to terrible tragedies.
    Even if you previously made your kit Public because you were willing to be included in law enforcement matching, you will need to affirm that choice. Use the pencil icon next to the kit.

    If you previously made your kit Research because you wanted to restrict matching with law enforcement kits, you now have the option of being Public while opting out of matching with LE kits. LE would be able to see matches of matches, but they would not be able to do a 1:1 comparison if that kit had opted out.

    To make your kits completely invisible to LE, mark your kits as Research.

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    It will be interesting to see what the "opt-in" statistics are in about a month.

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    Most people don't take unnecessary steps, and GEDMatch has made it look extremely dangerous (Whatever the truth might be) by literally painting it in blood red in the Terms of Service, so I think those statistics will mostly reflect GEDMatch's take on it. I still don't understand the basis of treating law enforcement as unique category, short of the extreme anti-authoritarianism of some people, and I don't see how this is not legally obstruction of justice. Could any other establishment get away with hanging "No service to law-enforcement" sign, and what message does it send to the public?

    Personally, I'm much more worried about private investigators, paparazzi/tabloid journalists, intelligence officers, overzealous researchers, transplant procurers, nosy next-door neighbors and uses we haven't even thought of yet than I am about duly authorized officers using it for investigation or bringing closure to families of dead people. And even then the risk is mostly from public family trees, unless the person of interest has directly tested. It might be noted that the current ToS explicitly allows use for identifying dead people, unless you're law enforcement. It would be far better for companies to offer a list of different uses to opt-in to than to paint a single use as bad, and give a much more accurrate view of what people actually want. In the end, of course, it will only be possible to enforce rules based on how the sample was obtained, ie. identified in person, mailed in saliva, trace DNA sequencing, self-produced etc.

    Worth noting the ToS still has "Direct access to your data is available to GEDmatch personnel, including volunteers, on a need to know basis." means all mentioned parties and more may still have access even to actual raw data, "We may use your data in our own research, to develop or improve applications." that amounts to carte blanche purpose of processing that's forbidden by GDPR, and "An artificial DNA kit (if and only if: (1) it is intended for research purposes; and (2) it is not used to identify anyone in the GEDmatch database)" with no idea what it actually means but may cover bioinformatics / format conversion techniques. I appreciate the work GEDMatch does & the service they provide, and believe they do what they believe they have to do to keep the service running. It's worth noting the big picture rather than focusing on a singular use, though.
    Last edited by Donwulff; 05-25-2019 at 07:42 AM.

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    I received their mailshot yesterday evening:

    GEDmatch.com TOS change
    From GEDMatch NotificationsAdd to whitelistAdd to blacklist
    To MacUalraig
    Reply-To Reply Will Be IgnoredAdd to whitelistAdd to blacklist
    Date Fri 18:36

    GEDmatch Inc. is incorporated in the State of Florida, USA.
    Last edited by MacUalraig; 06-08-2019 at 07:26 AM.
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    The guys have shown they are no more trustworthy than Greenspan is since they are arrogant enough to think that they have the right to decide what should be done with other peoples' DNA. I won't be recommending them to people anymore. I can't decide what to do with my own multiple kits though.
    YSEQ:#37; YFull: YF01405 (Y Elite 2013)
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    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...ess-for-police (Article-count limited)

    I think the main thing to gleam from this is the difference between "opt out" and "opt in". GEDMatch & its terms of service didn't use to restrict use from anyone, but then they introduced opt-out to law-enforcement searches only, and AFAIK practically nobody opted out. Now they switched to opt-in and... predictably almost nobody opted in.

    The site admin acts surprised, but honestly they also made it sound as undesirable as possible. Meanwhile they're getting loads of hate from some circles for allowing law-enforcement searches at all, and hate from relatives of criminals (as quoted in the article) for not helping apprehend them. All the while, FTDNA happily co-operating with law-enforcement and certain circles turning a blind eye... although apparently Parabon's now efficiently out of the business, what's up with that? FTDNA wanting whole business?

    Footnote: Every mainstream news article will be sure to mention & use 23andMe as illustration for the article, despite 23andMe and AncestryDNA being two of the few genetic genealogy services that DON'T allow or even have it possible to run this kind of law-enforcement searches. Or that the law-enfocement DNA databases (In the USA, and many other places) already dwarf genetic genealogy databases, and many of them allow familiar matches, with genealogy technologies and trees being the decisive difference. And somehow people have no problem with private investigators, serial killers, rapists, tin-pot dictators, paparazzi, intelligence officers, organ harvesters and yes paternity-investigators using DNA matching, but draw the line when it comes to law-enforcement.

    Right now the only way to opt out of all of these is to only use services which do not offer DNA matches to uploaded/imported DNA profiles such as 23andMe and AncestryDNA, although I hope there will be emerge a DNA information interchange standard which allows signing the method of DNA authenticiation, so you can specify whether to allow matches to surreptitious/found etc. DNA. But that's still just a stop-gap measure since hand-held DNA analysis devices...

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