Bryan Kohberger Identified by Genetic DNA Analysis

While I think we can all agree that the murders in Moscow, Idaho are gruesome and the killer needs to be brought to justice it appears that the FBI is using some rather questionable means of identifying a suspect. It appears that in order to identify Bryan Kohberger the FBI collected DNA at the scene and used genetic genealogy to link Kohberger.

The FBI apparently used information from a supposedly public database however this type of technology certainly raises some ethical questions regarding the reach of such technology. Ultimately the question is how far is too far? Does the seriousness of the offense determine the lengths to which law enforcement can use technology to calculate a suspect? What kind of error rates are possible? Calculating genetics into criminal justice seems to open a potential pandoras box of ethical and legal boundaries worthy of consideration. Imagine being someone who tosses an empty cup in the trash nearby a crime scene or perhaps someone uses hair obtained from your brush to plant evidence in the commission of a crime. Certainly you could later be found innocent however for Bryan Kohberger it is almost certain that in the court of public opinion people are guilty, even if proven innocent. All because a computer program calculated that some extended relative got AncestryDNA or the like. Additionally worth considering is the impact genetic investigation will have with regards to personality traits and how might that influence investigations.

Of further interest might also be the fact that in the circumstances regarding Kohberger it is highly likely that he will be compelled to provide DNA for comparison due to probable cause. If it is determined that he is not a match what assurance, if any, could Kohberger obtain to ensure that his DNA profile isn’t also added to some national database. For those of us who care about our privacy in such matters it seems like there’s a real risk of being unjustly targeted for collection of the most private of data we each possess.

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