The direct-to-consumer genetic testing company FamilyTreeDNA is offer customers a new way to opt out of allowing the US Federal Bureau of Investigation to access their data, New Scientist reports.
Buzzfeed News reported earlier this year that FamilyTreeDNA has allowed the FBI to access its genealogy database to investigate violent crimes. Genetic genealogy has increasingly been applied to law enforcement cases, leading to arrests in the Golden State Killer case and other murder and rape cases. But this access sparked privacy concerns, particularly for individuals who became FamilyTreeDNA customers before it changed its terms of service to reflect that access. At the time, customers could only avoid being part of an FBI search if they opted out of familial matching, a main feature.
But New Scientist now reports that that has changed. FamilyTreeDNA has announced that its users can now opt out of familial matching with accounts marked as being having been created as part of a law enforcement effort, it adds, noting that law enforcement will have to register trough a special process. Users in the US will have to manually opt out of law enforcement matching, while users in Europe will be opted out automatically, New Scientist notes.