When Family Tree DNA announced a year ago that it was working with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, the firm said it was doing so to help the victims of violent crimes. But Buzzfeed News now reports that shortly after making that announcement, the firm declined to provide a rival, Parabon Nanolabs, access to its database to search for matches.
Law enforcement has increasingly been using genetic genealogy approaches to home in on suspects in cold cases, a practice that has led to an arrest in the Golden State Killer case as well as in other murder and rape cases. But it has also led to privacy concerns, and some databases that law enforcement previously used like GEDmatch have limited their access to only customers who have opted in to being part of such searches.
According to Buzzfeed News, Family Tree DNA says it declined Parabon's request to access its database due to "some quality control and data management issues" and that it was still "engaged in conversations with Parabon and evaluating the possibility of a direct business relationship." Parabon's CeCe Moore adds at Buzzfeed News that their inability to access the database has slowed their progress in solving cases.