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Tag Archives for " DNA "

DHS Plans to Start Collecting Eye Scans and DNA

US Department of Homeland Security is planning to collect unprecedented levels of biometric information from immigration applicants and their sponsors — including U.S. citizens.

While some types of applicants have long been required to submit photographs and fingerprints, a rule currently under consideration would require practically everyone applying for any kind of status, or detained by immigration enforcement agents, to provide iris scans, voiceprints and palmprints, and, in some cases, DNA samples. A tangled web of defense and surveillance contractors, which operate with little public oversight, have already begun to build the infrastructure that would be needed to store these records.

Source: DHS Plans to Start Collecting Eye Scans and DNA

Forensic Genealogy Cracks Cold Cases Amid Privacy Concerns

Millions of people will unwrap at-home ancestry testing kits this holiday season and eagerly swab their cheeks and mail in the saliva, hoping their DNA will unlock clues about their heritage or reveal long-lost relatives.

The tests, which can cost as little as $59, offer entertainment and a chance to uncover family secrets. But with law enforcement increasingly mining the DNA databases to solve cold cases, as in the arrest last week of a Lehigh County man suspected in the 1969 murder of a San Diego woman, experts say consumers should think about their privacy when they hand over their DNA.

Source: Forensic Genealogy Cracks Cold Cases Amid Privacy Concerns | Pennsylvania News | US News

Blackstone to acquire Ancestry.com for $4.7 billion

Blackstone Group agreed to acquire genealogy provider Ancestry.com from private equity rivals for $4.7 billion, including debt, placing a big bet on family-tree chasing as well as personalized medicine.

Ancestry.com is the world’s largest provider of DNA services, allowing customers to trace their genealogy and identify genetic health risks with tests sent to their home.

Source: Blackstone to acquire Ancestry.com for $4.7 billion – Reuters

Canada’s Supreme Court upholds Genetic Non-Discrimination Act

On July 10, Canada’s Supreme Court issued its Reference re Genetic Non‑Discrimination Act decision, surprising many by upholding the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act’s constitutionality in a 5–4 decision.

The GINA decision of the Supreme Court itself lends support to Canadian claims that privacy is important and fundamental to Canadian law and adds a significant “plus” on our privacy ledger.

Source: Canada’s Supreme Court upholds Genetic Non-Discrimination Act

Police keeping drink-driver’s DNA breached his rights, Human Rights Court rules

UK police who indefinitely retained in their records the DNA profile of a man convicted of drink-driving breached his human rights, Strasbourg judges have ruled.

Gaughran had complained that the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s continued retention of his DNA profile (the digital record of his DNA sample), fingerprints and a photograph was a breach of his privacy.

Gaughran was arrested for drink-driving in 2008 and pleaded guilty at Newry magistrates court. He was disqualified from driving for a year.

The judges said Gaughran’s biometric data had been held without reference to the severity of his offence. The UK’s regulations failed to strike a fair balance between competing public and private interests, the ECHR concluded.

Source: Police keeping drink-driver’s DNA breached his rights, judges rule | UK news | The Guardian

China Uses DNA to Map Faces, With Help From the West

Beijing’s pursuit of control over a Muslim ethnic group pushes the rules of science and raises questions about consent.

The technology, which is also being developed in the United States and elsewhere, is in the early stages of development and can produce rough pictures good enough only to narrow a manhunt or perhaps eliminate suspects. But in the long term it may even be possible for the government to feed images produced from a DNA sample into the mass surveillance and facial recognition systems that it is building, tightening its grip on society by improving its ability to track dissidents and protesters as well as criminals.

Source: China Uses DNA to Map Faces, With Help From the West – The New York Times

DNA test kits threaten kids’ privacy in ways we can’t understand yet

You don’t have to be Orwell to understand that allowing a profit-driven company to analyze your genetic data comes with some scary privacy risks.

The only legislation directly concerning this data is called the Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act (also known as GINA), and it has been criticized by privacy experts for its narrow scope.

Privacy policy design can be an ambiguous business even with the best intentions, and I think it would be naive of a consumer to believe that DNA testing companies don’t have an incentive to leverage your data in ways that can’t be foreseen.

Source: How much of your privacy is at stake after using DNA test kits — Quartz

Inherently identifiable: Is it possible to anonymize health and genetic data?

Nearly 25 million people have taken an at-home DNA testing kit and shared that data with one of four ancestry and health databases.

With this proliferation of genetic testing and biometric data collection, there should be an increased scrutiny of the practices used to deidentify this data. Biometric data, namely genetic information and health records, is innately identifiable.

But can biometric data ever truly be anonymized, what are the methods of deidentification and best practices, and the current state of biometric data under the EU General Data Protection Regulation?

Full article: Inherently identifiable: Is it possible to anonymize health and genetic data?

The DNA database used to find the Golden State Killer is a national security leak waiting to happen

A private DNA ancestry database that’s been used by police to catch criminals is a security risk from which a nation-state could steal DNA data on a million Americans, according to security researchers.

Security flaws in the service, called GEDmatch, not only risk exposing people’s genetic health information but could let an adversary such as China or Russia create a powerful biometric database useful for identifying nearly any American from a DNA sample.

Source: The DNA database used to find the Golden State Killer is a national security leak waiting to happen – MIT Technology Review

New Privacy Fears About DNA Sleuthing

For the first time on record, the new forensic science of genetic genealogy has been used to identify a suspect in a case of violent assault. Cops in Utah had to obtain special permission to upload crime scene DNA to a website called GEDmatch, which had previously only allowed police to investigate homicides or rapes.

However, critics fear we’re on a slippery slope of genetic genealogy being used to investigate less serious crimes. “We’re right here on the precipice, sliding down,” one expert said.

Source: GEDmatch And Genetic Genealogy Helped Cops Charge A Utah Teen With Assault, Alarming Privacy Experts

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