GEDmatch, a genealogy database famous for contributing to the capture of Joseph DeAngelo (a serial killer known as Original Night Stalker, East Area Rapist, and, finally, Golden State Killer), has gone offline today after discovering a serious issue. Following an alleged privacy breach, all the data stored in its servers became accessible to the authorities, regardless of user settings and preferences.
The Internet security watchdogs sent warnings to the company, which prompted it to go offline and start an investigation.
Florida-based GEDmatch processes voluntarily submitted DNA of regular customers via readily made kits, helping them to explore their ethnic roots and find relatives all over the world. The company, currently owned by an independent forensic genomics company Verogen, has never been officially affiliated with police organizations or intelligence services in any kind. Investigators that uploaded the DNA of then-unknown Golden State Killer into the GEDmatch database in 2017 did it on their own accord and eventually tracked down one of his distant family members, thus discovering DeAngelo’s identity.