When a government becomes tyrannical, it hardly happens overnight. Instead, it tends to stealthily insert its way into society through seemingly harmless or well-intentioned actions. This story serves as a troubling example of the government engaging in intrusive behavior under the guise of protecting Americans.
Family Tree DNA, a prominent genetic testing company, allows its customers to trace their ancestry and locate relatives through its genealogy database. Recently, the organization revealed that it is collaborating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to assist in its law enforcement efforts.
DNA Testing Company Working With Government
Buzzfeed News revealed the collusion between Family Tree DNA and the FBI in a recent report that detailed the nature of the relationship between the company and federal law enforcement. The article stated that the company allows FBI agents to search its database — which contains data on millions of customers — to obtain evidence in violent crimes.
…if it wants “additional information,” it must provide a subpoena or search warrant.
The company “has tested samples for the FBI and uploaded the profiles to its database on a case-by-case basis since last fall.” Even worse, it has done so without the consent of its customers. So far, Family Tree DNA has worked with the Bureau on ten cases, and its leadership appears to be unfazed by this relationship. It claimed that Bennett Greenspan, the company’s founder, “had inadvertently created a platform that, nearly two decades later, would help law enforcement agencies solve violent crimes faster than ever.”
Family Tree DNA altered its terms of service last month to reflect its venture with the FBI, but the company’s existing customers were not informed of the decision, and the organization did not ask for consent to share their data.
Company leaders claim that the Bureau has the same type of access as a regular customer; if it wants “additional information,” it must provide a subpoena or search warrant. In 2017, the FBI issued a subpoena requesting “limited information” on a profile tied to the Golden State Killer. Before this development, federal law enforcement was allowed to access only public DNA databases in which users were aware that their information could be searched by others.
Could This Lead to Tyranny?
At first glance, using DNA databases to assist law enforcement in their efforts to apprehend violent criminals might appear to be a positive move. After all, wouldn’t it be great if these companies could do more than reunite relatives and tank the careers of certain leftist politicians? But when you consider the full context of this story, you can easily see where this type of government action could lead.
Those who doubt that government officials could use this type of database to engage in tyrannical behavior would be wise to consider the actions some have taken to promote a political cause. Last year, Project Veritas exposed the activities of far-left individuals working in the federal government. These individuals used state resources to target private citizens and slow down the progress of programs with which they disagreed.
In one case, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America who worked for the Department of Justice led a protest at the home of a lobbyist named Jeremy Wiley. She found out where Wiley lived by looking up his information in government data and then running his license plate to verify the location of his home.
That’s right. Individuals can use government tools to track down a private citizen whose political views did not align with theirs to harass him at his house. It is not difficult to imagine what people like this could do if they had access to a massive DNA database.
Companies like Family Tree DNA have grown in popularity over the years because they provide an easy way to discover personal ancestry and connect with unknown relatives. It is likely that millions more will sign up with these services, unaware of the fact that their information could be shared with the government. Since the legacy media avoids any real reporting on this matter, making sure that people are aware of this reality presents a challenge to those who value liberty and privacy.
This is another story that demonstrates how entities are working under the radar to empower the state to become more invasive into the lives of American citizens. Since the mainstream press would prefer to keep the public fixated on outrage porn, it appears that alternative media is the only method by which people can be made aware of the problem. If nothing is done, the state will continue to grow into a behemoth that is impossible to oppose.