Prof. Julia Creet questions public privacy after genealogy cracks the Golden State Killer case

English Professor Julia Creet explains in The Conversation how police used a public genealogy database to solve the decades old Golden State Killer case.

The Golden State Killer is a California serial murderer and rapist. Detectives used the genetic database called GEDmatch to find the accused Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, whom they suspect to have committed a dozen murders and 50 sexual assaults in the 1970s and ’80s.

Creet argues, however, that the use of public DNA profiles for purposes other than why they were originally aggregated raises significant privacy concerns.

“Genetic genealogy has generated some of the largest and most useful datasets in the world with little discussion of privacy, particularly around the question of who other than genealogists might access these databases and for what reason,” she writes.

Creet has been researching issues surrounding genealogy, family history and privacy for over a decade. Her documentaries include Data Mining the Deceased: Ancestry and the Business of Family and Mum.

Read Creet’s full article in The Conversation: How cops used a public genealogy database in the Golden State Killer case