President And Ceo, National Constitution Center, Jeffrey Rosen discussed on We The People

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Automatic TRANSCRIPT

I'm jeffrey rosen president and ceo of the national constitution center and welcome to we the people the weekly show of constitutional debate the national constitution center is a nonpartisan nonprofit chartered by congress to increase awareness and understanding of the constitution among the american people this past april california police announced they had a suspect for the socalled golden state killer using genetic data from old crime scene samples they applauded the suspects information into a genealogy website and ebeling them to identify his distant relatives and eventually narrow the pool down to find the suspect this case has raised privacy concerns and also people who are think it's great for law enforcement leading many to wonder about the future of genetic privacy and the fourth amendment joining us to discuss and luminated unpacked this important and complicated topic are two of america's leading scholars of privacy law erin murphy is professor of law nyu law school she is a nationally recognized expert in frenzy dna typing and the author of inside the cell the dark side forensic dna andrea roth is an assistant professor of law at berkeley law school she previously served as an attorney with the public defender service for the washington dc public defender service she's written extensively on the use dna in criminal law and procedure erin andrea thank you so much for joining thanks for having me thank you erin let us begin with you you had a memorable quotation in the press saying that using dna matching once you draw that family tree every male on the tree is a suspect until they prove their innocence take us through how exactly the suspect did golden state killer was caught using his genetic data and why once the data is plugged into a genetic database every male on the tree is a suspect until they prove their innocence my understanding essentially what law enforcement did is take friends example they found at the prime seen which they believed to be the genetic signature of the person who committed the crime and then he did the conventional thing which is check existing known person databases for a match and nothing came up i think i heard that it's now been confirmed they did a traditional familial search meaning they look for relatives in those known person databases and nothing came up and so as the final step they decided to use these publicly available databases which are found on line people voluntarily upload their genetic information to these sites usually i think the idea behind them is that because there are so many different platforms offering these kind of recreational genetic links available if you happen to test on ancestry endure me no distant relative tested on twenty three and me you might not find each other simply because you're using different platforms and so this site i think was created to try to solve that problem in say hey you can upload your information here and we will essentially allow you to cross communicate across these divides and so the law enforcement officers created essentially a genetic profile kintu what you would get on one of these ancestry or recreational sites using a form of dna testing isn't generally used in criminal justice called snip testing looking at these single tied polymorphisms or just sort of pieces of the genome that change among into can identify individuals and they're much more powerful to find relatedness in so doing that allowed them to essentially triangulate this relatives so they found somebody who mashed i think they went all the way up the family tree i think i saw somewhere it was to a great grandparents or something of that nature then they built out using publicly available sources and genetic information the family tree from that person i think many people heard that leads them to a relative or someone they believed to be possibly a perpetrator who is in a nursing home that person turned out not to be a match but helped build this family tree out even further eventually again using kind of a mix of genetics and information from public sources they landed on what looked like a suspect syrup tissues lee collected dna from that person and that is the individual who's now accused of the crime so i think one of the things that shows you is you know i'm not sure i've seen it reported or not but this person who was the kind of lynch pin in the.

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