GEDMatch's decision last month to change its terms and conditions has sharply minimized the size of its database available to law enforcement searches, Bloomberg reports. GEDMatch has helped police uncover suspects in a number of cold cases, including the Golden State Killer case.
But suhc use of genetic genealogy databases has also raised privacy and ethical concerns. In May, the database changed its policy and opted its users out of participating in law enforcement searches. GEDMatch had previously allowed police access to its database if they were investigating a homicide or sexual assault or were trying to identify human remains. But it made an exception and allowed police to search its database to narrow in on a suspect in an assault case.
Under the new rules, GEDMatch have to opt into being part of law enforcement searches. Some 50,000 people have opted in, out of about 1 million profiles on GEDMatch's site, Bloomberg reports, noting that the site has urged users to take part.
"It's basically useless now,'' CeCe Moore, a genetic genealogist with Parabon Nanolabs who has worked with law enforcement, tells Bloomberg. "Our work on any new cases is significantly stalled.''
Bloomberg notes that police may instead shift its focus to a different genealogy website, FamilyTreeDNA, that allows police to submit samples from homicide, sexual assault, or kidnapping cases.