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The brave new world of genetic genealogy - MIT Technology Review
The combination of DNA and genealogy is a potentially a huge force for good in the world, but it must be used responsibly. In all cases where public databases like GEDmatch are used, the potential for good must be balanced against the potential for harm. In cases involving adoptee searches, missing persons, and unidentified bodies, the potential for good usually markedly outweighs the potential for harm.

But the situation is not so clear-cut when it comes to the use of the methodology to identify suspects in rape and murder cases. The potential for harm is much higher under these circumstances, because of the risk of misuse, misapplication or misinterpretation of the data leading to wrongful identification of suspects. The stakes are too high for the GEDmatch database to be used by the police without oversight by a court of law. 

However, we are not looking at a dystopian future. In the long run the public sharing of DNA data, when done responsibly, is likely to have huge benefits for society. If a criminal can be caught not by his own DNA but through a match with one of his cousins he will be less likely to commit a crime in the first place. With the move to whole genome sequencing in forensic cases in the future, it will be possible to make better use of genetic genealogy methods and databases to identify missing people, the remains of soldiers from World War One and World War Two as well as more recent wars, and casualties from natural and manmade disasters. We will be able to give many more unidentified people the dignity of their identity in death. But we each control our own DNA and we should all be able to decide what, if anything, we wish to share.
gedmatch  genealogy  dna  police  murder  rape  dna-matching  privacy  data-privacy 
7 weeks ago by jm
Stiff Upper Lip by Alex Renton review – the damage boarding schools have done | Books | The Guardian
Holy shit:
Stiff Upper Lip is studded with startling stuff. Discussing the importance of football, for instance, in 19th-century public schools, he drops in the line that “in Charterhouse’s version a small boy was the ball”. I blithely went over that one, thinking he meant “a small boy was [expected to crouch on] the ball” or similar; but it was no typo. In a cheery kickabout on Good Friday, 1924, the Earl of Sussex’s son died from his injuries – _having been [used as] an actual football_.


(via Eva Wiseman)
football  public-schools  uk  school  history  murder  insanity  charterhouse  alex-renton  education 
april 2017 by jm
The Lord British Postulate
One of the most famous attributes of Lord British is that he is almost invincible. In every Ultima game in which he has appeared, he is designed to be almost impervious to a player's character predations. However, there are ways for a player thinking outside the box to assassinate him. This phenomenon is the origin of the Lord British Postulate which states: "If it exists as a living creature in an MMORPG, someone, somewhere, will try to kill it."[7] Virtually every MMO game displays numerous instances of this, with players attempting to kill (or, in the case of friendly NPCs, cause the death of) virtually every NPC or monster, howsoever powerful, meek, friendly, or ethereal.
npcs  gaming  games  lord-british  murder  rules  mmorpgs 
march 2017 by jm
Your Relative's DNA Could Turn You Into A Suspect
Familial DNA searching has massive false positives, but is being used to tag suspects:
The bewildered Usry soon learned that he was a suspect in the 1996 murder of an Idaho Falls teenager named Angie Dodge. Though a man had been convicted of that crime after giving an iffy confession, his DNA didn’t match what was found at the crime scene. Detectives had focused on Usry after running a familial DNA search, a technique that allows investigators to identify suspects who don’t have DNA in a law enforcement database but whose close relatives have had their genetic profiles cataloged. In Usry’s case the crime scene DNA bore numerous similarities to that of Usry’s father, who years earlier had donated a DNA sample to a genealogy project through his Mormon church in Mississippi. That project’s database was later purchased by Ancestry, which made it publicly searchable—a decision that didn’t take into account the possibility that cops might someday use it to hunt for genetic leads.

Usry, whose story was first reported in The New Orleans Advocate, was finally cleared after a nerve-racking 33-day wait — the DNA extracted from his cheek cells didn’t match that of Dodge’s killer, whom detectives still seek. But the fact that he fell under suspicion in the first place is the latest sign that it’s time to set ground rules for familial DNA searching, before misuse of the imperfect technology starts ruining lives.
dna  familial-dna  false-positives  law  crime  idaho  murder  mormon  genealogy  ancestry.com  databases  biometrics  privacy  genes 
october 2015 by jm
How the feds took down the Dread Pirate Roberts | Ars Technica
Well-written, comprehensive writeup of the Silk Road takedown, and the libertarian craziness of Ross William Ulbricht, it's alleged owner and operator
silk-road  drugs  crazy  ross-william-ulbricht  fbi  libertarian  murder  tor 
october 2013 by jm

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