Lawmaker proposes bill to limit usage of DNA databases for crime solving


    FILE - In this Aug. 1, 2014 file photo, tools used for DNA testing are shown in a DNA lab at the forensic science center of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation in Edmond, Okla. About 60 percent of the U.S. population with European heritage may be identifiable from their DNA by searching consumer websites, even if they’ve never made their own genetic information available, a study estimates. That number will grow as more and more people upload their DNA profiles to websites that use genetic analysis to find relatives, researchers said. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

    It’s one of the hottest trends, with sites like Ancestry.com raking in thousands each year.

    Ben Austin signed up about two months ago.

    “Just to learn my family history and find out a little bit more about where my family came from,” Austin said. “It clearly outlines in the guidelines, that you are putting yourself out there.”

    With that in mind, Maryland lawmaker Del. Charles Sydnor is proposing a bill, which would prohibit “a person from performing a search of the statewide DNA database or any other DNA or genealogical data base for the purpose of identification of an offender in connection with a crime for which the offender may be a biological relative of the individual from whom the DNA sample was acquired.”

    Sydnor got the idea for the bill after police arrested the suspect believed to be the Golden State Killer.

    “I just want to make certain that when we catch folk that we are alleging have committed crimes that we are doing so in the right way. That’s what distinguishes us from the criminals,” Sydnor said.

    Sydnor, who has been an attorney for nearly two decades, says it all comes down to constitutionality.

    Not everyone agrees.

    “I get it, you didn’t put your own personal information out there, at the same time, it’s going to better the public. If you do the crime, you deserve to do the time,” Austin said.

    We reached out to several local law enforcement agencies, they did not have a comment.

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