Sep 21, 2022

Maryland Quietly Shelves Parts Of Genealogy Privacy Law

From an article by Patrick Terpstra and published in the web site:

A WMAR-2 News investigation has learned the Maryland Department of Health quietly stopped implementing key parts of a landmark privacy law meant to protect ancestry data online.

The law, enacted last year, was seen as a model for other states looking to set standards for when law enforcement can tap into DNA uploaded by Americans researching their heritage.

“States that don’t have a law like ours, it’s kind of the wild west,” said Natalie Ram, law professor at the University of Maryland.

The state’s law set some of the first limits in the nation on forensic genetic genealogy, a technique used occasionally to help crack the toughest murder and rape cases.

Authorities take DNA from a crime scene, and if they can’t find a match to known offenders in law enforcement databases, they compare the sample to profiles for millions of Americans whose DNA is online from ancestry research.

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