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News Posted on May 15, 2013

Professor Joh Comments for Boston Globe on ‘Abandoned DNA'

Professor Elizabeth Joh commented for the Boston Globe on legal issues associated with "abandoned DNA," or genetic material people inadvertently discard, unintentionally revealing a wealth of information to whomever might collect and analyze it. 

"In general the idea is anything you intentionally relinquish to the public, to scavengers, in the garbage, is free for anyone. This is true for your hard drive, your diary, your credit card statements-and it's true for your DNA, regardless of whether you realize you're casting it aside," said Professor Joh.

Joh, who is identified as "one of a handful of thinkers saying it's time the law reckoned with what rights we have to this trove of extremely personal information," is quoted repeatedly throughout the report, which also mentions her article "DNA Theft: Recognizing the Crime of Nonconsensual Genetic Collection and Analysis" (Boston Law Review, 2011), which argues for criminal penalties for sequencing an individual's genome without permission.

Elizabeth Joh researches in the areas of criminal law and procedure. She has special interests in the fields of policing, criminal justice privatization, and the sociology of law.

Boston Globe