DNA profiling, while new, has been used in solving crimes. In April, Joseph James DeAngelo (a.k.a, the Golden State Killer) was charged with 13 counts of murder and 13 counts of attempted kidnapping. Law enforcement officials used a publically available DNA database to catch DeAngelo. It is only the second time in history that particular strategy has been successful. Since then, 13 more accused criminals have been caught using the same methodology.
“The solving of the Golden State Killer case opened this method up as a possibility and other crime labs are taking advantage of it,” Dickover said. “Clearly a trend has started.”
However, this strategy can easily be manipulated if it falls into nefarious hands.
“When the police caught the Golden State Killer, that was a very good day for humanity,” Erlich said. “The problem is that the very same strategy can be misused.”
Erlich and his co authors suggest that direct-to consumer companies implement mitigation strategies that would help to curb potential abuse. It is easy to see how DNA sequencing could potentially be used as a consequential profiling tactic.