One of the largest at-home DNA testing companies, FamilyTreeDNA, has started allowing the FBI to use its database to help solve violent crimes.

However, the company that’s known for providing people with home testing kits to give them the chance to find their relatives and trace their ancestry raised privacy concerns because it "quietly" entered into an agreement with the law enforcement agency. 

Federal and local law authorities have been accessing public genealogy databases to investigate cold cases. But just recently, the FBI reportedly gained access to two million profiles thanks to its partnership with FamilyTreeDNA. This is the first time that a private organization voluntarily allowed law enforcement to access its database.

Access to FamilyTreeDNA database has so far allowed the FBI to upload ten samples out of the 22 from other agencies. This also paved the way for the agency to solve two brutal rape cases 20 years after the crimes happened.

Through DNA evidence, authorities arrested Kevin Konther, 53, in Orange County. The FBI and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department worked together to track Konther down based on the DNA evidence collected from both crime scenes.

Konther was apprehended as DNA evidence linked him to the brutal rapes of a woman and a 9-year-old girl in Orange County. He appeared to have targeted the two randomly, grabbed them and assaulted them in public areas. Authorities suspect that there could be more victims.

The same method used to find Konther was utilized in tracking down the Golden State Killer. Authorities found suspected serial killer Joseph James DeAngelo through DNA collected from genealogy sites like and

Although the FBI cannot freely access or browse genetic profiles in the database, this is still raising some privacy concerns because FamilyTreeDNA failed to disclose its cooperation with the law enforcement agency to its customers.

“All in all, I feel violated, I feel they have violated my trust as a customer,” Leah Larkin said to BuzzFeed News. Larkin, who is also a genetic genealogist based in Livermore, California, added that she needs to decide if she wants to opt out of matching or deleting her kits.

FamilyTreeDNA officials clarified that customers can opt out of familial matching since doing so would also prohibit the FBI from finding them in the database. The officials also maintained that their work with the FBI can be helpful to many people.

“Without realizing it [FamilyTreeDNA founder and CEO Bennett Greenspan] had inadvertently created a platform that, nearly two decades later, would help law enforcement agencies solve violent crimes faster than ever,” the company said in a statement.

FBI Gains Access to DNA Company Database A private DNA company has given FBI access to nearly two million of its profiles drawing privacy concerns. Pictured: The FBI, American, and Georgia state flag fly outside the Atlanta Federal Bureau of Investigation field office on February 1, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images