The Guardian reports today that police used genealogy sites to match DNA of Golden State Killer suspect but all major companies deny releasing customer information.
23andMe said the company was not involved in the case and that it had never given customer information to law enforcement officials. The platform does not support the comparison of genetic data processed by any third party to genetic profiles in its own database.
An Ancestry.com spokeswoman said: “We have not been in contact with law enforcement regarding the Joseph James DeAngelo case. Ancestry advocates for its members’ privacy and will not share any information with law enforcement unless compelled to by valid legal process.”
11 May 2018 CNN explains how police created a fake family tree at GEDmatch
The arrest was made on the basis of genetic information, with detectives matching a discarded DNA sample from his home to evidence from the investigation, law enforcement officials said. DNA evidence is used to implicate criminals every day, but the method used in this case was new… The investigators used an open-source genetic database, GEDmatch, to explore family trees and see whether any contained matches to DNA samples from the crime scenes, according to Paul Holes, a retired cold case investigator who briefed the Sacramento County sheriff throughout the final stages of the investigation.
Once a family profile was created, the investigators could find feasible “suspects” within a family.