Legislation limiting law enforcement access to DNA databases

 

MARYLAND.- Lawmakers have passed legislation limiting law enforcement access to DNA databases.

Examples of databases includes 23andMe, Ancestry, and GEDmatch.

House Bill 240 would require a judge’s oversight before law enforcement can use genetic genealogy.

Genetic Genealogy technique officers often use to upload DNA evidence found at a crime scene to make connections on possible suspects.

The bill would also limit usage of genetics to serious crimes like murder and kidnapping.

As many have privacy concerns, law enforcement say their concerns are public safety arguing legislation like this could delay the investigation. “This could potentially lead to a suspect committing additional offenses if they’re not already incarcerated for a prior type of offense,” said Worcester County Sheriff Matthew Crisafulli.

The ACLU of Maryland sent us a statement that reads:

  “The ACLU-MD is concerned about increased use of forensic genetic genealogy by police. The Fourth Amendment protects Marylanders’ right to privacy, and ensures their freedom from unreasonable government intrusion via searches and seizures. There are serious privacy problems when government agencies have wide access to our sensitive and personal information. While there are real benefits to society with this technology – including providing individuals who are wrongfully incarcerated a new tool to prove their innocence – it can also be abused for mass surveillance and data collection of families and communities. That is why it is so important to establish strict guardrails to protect individuals’ rights,” said ACLU of Maryland’s Joe Spielberger.

 This legislation passed earlier this year, despite not having Governor Hogan’s signature. This law comes into affect October 1st.

 

Categories: Maryland