Is Montana Getting it Right or Wrong With This New Law?
Have you ever submitted a sample to one of the DNA database companies like 23andMe or AncestryDNA? We thought about doing it with my dad's DNA when he passed - but then we thought better of it - you just never know what kind of things you'll uncover! I've kind of always wanted to submit a sample with the idea of learning about a long-lost sibling or something. The main argument I've heard people make against doing such a thing has always seemed to be that once you give your sample you don't know what happens with it and who has access to it. Maybe I was always a bit nieve, but I would always counter with something like "c'mon, you're just paranoid."
It turns out that other people have been able to get access to that DNA information of yours if you supplied it for testing with one of those collection companies. And it's one of those things where I can kind of see both sides of things. Law enforcement has some pretty big success stories of being able to use the DNA results to help solve cold cases, including a few in Montana. What a great help to be able to provide the identity of someone who was just a John Doe up until that point. But on the other hand, the whole issue of privacy comes into play.
The law in Montana is about to change
After a new law takes effect on October 1, law enforcement will no longer have access to consumer DNA in Montana. When it happens, Montana will become just the second state to restrict the usage. I'm not sure I can decide if that's a good thing or not. Don't get me wrong, I get the whole privacy issue. But also, if you're packing up your DNA and sending it off through the mail you have to kind of view it as fair game, don't you?
Is Montana making the right call by being the second state to pass this type of law? Would it make you feel any more comfortable about sending in a DNA sample? I mean, just because it's supposed to be protected now, you just never know once it leaves your possession.
What side are you on?