Op-ed: Police access to genetic info is worrisome

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Op-ed: Police access to genetic info is worrisome

July 25, 2018

In the Golden State Killer case, two individuals were subjected to scrutiny before a third person was accused. 

Much has been made about the fact that genetic information that people agree to submit online helped lead police to a suspect in a long unsolved crime, involving the so-called "Golden State Killer." Less reported is the fact that two people in that genetics-based investigation were subjected to police attention before police accused a third person. 

More transparency and public policy are needed to ensure that innocent people who do not submit genetic information to a public database are not exposed to unjustified intrusions of their privacy. 

The op-ed was co-written by Rori Rohlfs of San Francisco State University and Malia Fullerton, a bioethicist at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Fullerton also has affiliations with the departments of medicine (Division of Medical  Genetics), epidemiology, and genome sciences.