Letter Re: Ancestry Story


It looks like there is a differing view that counters the story you linked to… Facts matter!. – D.S.

HJL Responds: There is always more than one side to any argument; this one is no exception. However, the author of the “Facts matter!” article that you are referencing, while making the accusation that the original author is twisting “the facts” to suit his purpose, does the exact same thing. Given both articles, here are my concerns:

  1. Does anyone who submits their DNA to Sorenson Labs (Ancestory) have a reasonable expectation that their DNA will be used for any purpose other than genealogical research? Is there a clearly marked disclaimer in Sorenson’s documentation that your DNA may/will be used for any purpose other than what you intended it for?
  2. Was there a court order issued for the original search that identified the possibility of a match? I’m not talking about simply identifying the person who Sorenson previously anonymously identified to the police, allowing them to then obtain a court order either. Was there a court order for the original match that identified that there may be a person of interest to the police?

    If it’s not obvious here, I’m having trouble with the idea that Sorenson tells its clients that they will hold their client’s data confidential and then releases enough information to law enforcement to suggest that a warrant may be authorized or that they would run the test in the first place without a warrant.

  3. After following “leads” generated by the DNA, a suspect was identified and was forced, by court order, to give a DNA sample. Ultimately, this was a wild goose chase, wasting tax dollars and causing untold harm to reputations. Is that sample now part of the law enforcement DNA database or has the data been destroyed and the record expunged, as it properly should be? How are reparations being made to deal with damaged reputations from false allegations made based upon questionable evidence?
  4. As best I can tell, this is now a documented case where an innocent person received a court order out-of-the-blue compelling them to produce DNA which has now become a permanent part of the law enforcement DNA database because a third party (relative) donated DNA to a lab to help find family members and that lab subsequently used the database for purposes other than what it was intended for (or at least what they represented that it was intended for). How exactly is that a win for the Constitution?