Maryland to limit how police can use DNA data – By Jazz Shaw (Hot Air) / June 7 2021
The Baltimore Sun published a rather strange article today dealing with violent crime in Maryland. It begins with the tale of Michael Anthony Temple. He was shot down in the streets of the Odenton neighborhood in 2010, later dying of his injuries. While there were no witnesses to the crime, the shooter had left behind a cigarette butt and a coffee cup, each of which produced DNA samples. Unfortunately, after running the genetic signature through the criminal database, they failed to find a match. The case went cold for nine years.
Then, in 2019, investigators ran the DNA samples against publicly accessible genetics databases. A match was produced and the police arrested Fred Lee Frampton jr. for the murder. So… good news, right? Justice might be delayed, but at least it was served. The reason I called the Baltimore Sun article “strange,” however, is because all of that history sets us up for the real thrust of the story. Clearly we can’t have the police using public genealogy information even if it puts a killer behind bars. With that in mind, the state will now begin limiting how the police can access that data.
Now, Maryland becomes one of the first states in the country to set rules limiting how police can use the popular websites and their databases. The General Assembly passed the legislation this year. And though Gov. Larry Hogan didn’t sign the bill, he allowed it to become law anyway…
“This is a new frontier in forensics, so you want to make certain that there are protections,” said Sen. Charles Sydnor III, a Democrat from Baltimore County who sponsored the bill.
Police departments came to realize the investigatory power of genealogy websites after the arrest of the notorious Golden State Killer in 2018. California authorities said they were led to Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. by family tree searches of genealogy websites. He pleaded guilty to more than a dozen murders and was sentenced to life in prison.