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Harder to Find

With changes to the terms and conditions of genetic genealogy sites like GEDmatch, law enforcement says it is taking longer track some suspects down, NBC News reports.

"There are cases that won't get solved or will take longer to solve," Lori Napolitano, the chief of forensic services at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, tells it.

In the past year and a half, law enforcement officials have made news by turning to genetic genealogy approaches and public databases like GEDmatch to make arrests in a number of cold cases, such as the Golden State Killer case. But following concerns about privacy, GEDmatch changed its terms and conditions last May so that its users have to opt into being part of law enforcement searches.

That move, NBC News notes, has sharply limited the number of profiles investigators can sift through and has now led to some groups to try to convince users to opt in. Colleen Fitzpatrick, who co-founded the DNA Doe Project and runs IdentiFinders, for instance, frames it as promoting public safety.

NBC News adds that Curtis Rogers, the founder of GEDmatch has also urged his users to opt in. "Many of these families have suffered for decades. They need your support," he wrote in an email to them, according to NBC News. "We hope you will encourage others who have been genealogically DNA tested to also add their information. We believe it is the caring thing to do."