The capture of the alleged Golden State Killer has garnered the attention of people around the globe, but it has also stirred up a controversy over the privacy rights of individuals. It has now been revealed that investigators were able to identify the Golden State Killer suspect by using a DNA profile and family-tree tracing method. Investigators used DNA submitted to a genealogy website during this process.
The controversial method has law enforcement agencies excited over the potential to solve decades-old cold cases. Hopefuls have been requesting that the authorities utilize the same methods in cases such as the famous unsolved Zodiac Killer murders. Authorities do have a partial DNA sample from the Zodiac Killer, but it’s still unclear whether this controversial method will be successful in partial-DNA cases.
Civil libertarians, on the other hand, are questioning whether this type of investigation encroaches on an individual’s expectation of privacy. California currently has one of the biggest criminal DNA databases in the world, but the DNA from the Golden State Killer case was obtained through a genealogy website.
The state is currently considering a new initiative, the Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act of 2018, which would allow the California Police Department to collect DNA samples for non-violent and misdemeanor offenses. The recent Golden State Killer capture has renewed a new debate over the legitimacy of such a measure. Advocates are calling the measure “common sense”, while opponents are calling it “a serious threat to criminal justice reform.”