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Ancestry Says Police Requested Access To Its Dna Database


Sidestepping the "lynch mob"
They are right to fight this, IMO.. Investigative authorities already have access to lots of different government databases of confidential info, including fingerprints, to identify a suspect. Giving access to a private database could exploit millions of innocent paying customers, who are relying on Ancestry for reasons other than criminal activity. If police have a particular cold case they want to solve and petition for the DNA info (with permission from relatives) to be able to solve a crime, that would be more acceptable. With government databases like motor vehicle, etc., the confidential info belongs to the government and as such the public have no Plus, I always believe there are criminals within the police depts... who is to stop some from using this info type for other reasons than solving crime? lol



Well-Known Member
All this says is they denied a request because it was improperly served. Doesn't that just mean that someone didn't follow the correct process to get the data? Not sure Ancestry deserves a ticker tape parade because...

Ancestry said it did comply with six other law enforcement requests, which related to "credit card misuse, fraud, and identity theft.


Sidestepping the "lynch mob"
Ancestry Guide for Law Enforcement

This guide is intended for law enforcement authorities in the United States and around the world seeking information relating to the accounts or users of our Ancestry family of companies. Additional information is available in the applicable Terms and Conditions and Privacy Statements available on our websites.

Services We Offer
Ancestry.com and international sites, such as Ancestry.co.uk, Ancestry.com.au, and Ancestry.ca, allow members to create family trees, view historical records, and find and communicate with relatives online.

Archives.com is a service that provides access to billions of digitized public records and images for genealogical research.

AncestryDNA® is a DNA testing service that connects autosomal test results with our DNA database to estimate a user’s ethnicity and identify relationships with unknown relatives.

We offer additional products and services, such as Fold3, Newspapers.com and AncestryAcademy. For more information, click here.

Information Available from Ancestry
We collect user information in accordance with the applicable Terms and Conditions and Privacy Statements.

Requests for Ancestry User Information
Ancestry does not voluntarily cooperate with law enforcement. To provide our Users with the greatest protection under the law, we require all government agencies seeking access to Ancestry customers’ data to follow valid legal process and do not allow law enforcement to use Ancestry’s services to investigate crimes or to identify human remains.

Law Enforcement Requests Outside the United States:
Depending on the jurisdiction of the requesting law enforcement agency, a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty request or letter rogatory may be required to compel the disclosure of records. This is because our users’ account data can only be accessed by Ancestry.com Operations Inc. (located in the United States) and Ancestry Ireland Unlimited Company (located in Ireland). International law enforcement authorities may also submit requests for emergency disclosure. We will provide responsive records in accordance with applicable law and our policies.

Law Enforcement Requests in the United States:
Ancestry will release basic subscriber information as defined in 18 USC § 2703(c)(2) about Ancestry users to law enforcement only in response to a valid trial, grand jury or administrative subpoena.

Ancestry will release additional account information or transactional information pertaining to an account (such as search terms, but not including the contents of communications) only in response to a court order issued pursuant to 18 USC § 2703(d).

Contents of communications and any data relating to the DNA of an Ancestry user will be released only pursuant to a valid search warrant from a government agency with proper jurisdiction.

If we receive a valid request under U.S. law to preserve records that constitute potentially relevant evidence in legal proceedings, we will preserve, but not disclose, a temporary snapshot of the relevant account records for 90 days pending service of valid legal process as described above.

How We Respond to Legal Requests
Respect for the privacy and security of our users’ account data drives our approach to complying with legal requests for information. When we receive a request our team reviews it to make sure it satisfies legal requirements and our policies. If we believe a request is overly broad, we will try to narrow it to the extent legally permitted.

How to Request Ancestry User Information
Ancestry responds to valid legal process issued in compliance with applicable law.

When requesting user account information, please include:

  • If available/known, the full name of the subject Ancestry account holder, the account holder’s username and the email and/or mailing address associated with the account(s);
  • Details about what specific information is requested (e.g., basic subscriber information) and its relationship to the investigation. We are unable to process overly broad or vague requests; and
  • A valid official email address (e.g., [email protected]) so we may get back in touch with you upon receipt of your legal process.
Requests should be made in writing and should be submitted by certified mail, express courier, or in person at the addresses listed below; and an additional copy may be sent by email. We do not accept legal process by email or fax unless the request is an emergency request. Our contact information is available at the bottom of this Guide. Written requests must be made on law enforcement letterhead and be signed by the responsible law enforcement officer.

We Will Notify Users of Requests Unless Prohibited From Doing So
Our policy for all requests is to notify users of the request and provide a copy of the request prior to disclosure, unless we are legally restricted from doing so. In the United States, law enforcement officials may prevent this disclosure by submitting a court order pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2705(b) or equivalent state statute that is signed by a judge. We will evaluate requests not to notify users from law enforcement outside the U.S. under applicable law. For all requests, we may also decide, in our sole discretion, not to notify the user if doing so would be counterproductive and we are legally permitted to do so.

Emergency Requests
If there is an exigent emergency that involves the danger of death or serious physical injury to a person that Ancestry may have information necessary to prevent, law enforcement officers can submit an emergency disclosure request by mail or by email to [email protected] with subject “Emergency Disclosure Request” from a valid official email address. In addition, please call the number below and ask to be transferred to the Legal Department to let us know you have submitted an emergency disclosure request. We may notify the user of such request after the fact in accordance with our policy as described above.

Please include all of the following information in an emergency disclosure request:

  • Clear indication on your cover sheet, which must be on law enforcement letterhead, that you are submitting an Emergency Disclosure Request;
  • Identity of the person who is in danger of death or serious physical injury;
  • The nature of the emergency (e.g., report of suicide, bomb threat);
  • If available/known, the full name of the account holder, the account holder’s username and the email and/or mailing address associated with the the account(s) whose information is necessary to prevent the emergency;
  • The specific information requested and why that information is necessary to prevent the emergency;
  • All other available details or context regarding the particular circumstances;
  • The signature of the submitting law enforcement officer; and
  • A valid official email address (e.g., [email protected]) and phone number so we may get back in touch with you.
Submission of Requests
Please note that we may not respond to email correspondence sent to the below email address from non-law enforcement officials.

Requests for user information from U.S. law enforcement should be directed to:

Ancestry.com Operations Inc.
Attn: Legal Department, Law Enforcement Request
1300 W Traverse Parkway
Lehi, UT 84043
United States

Email Address: [email protected]

Requests for user information from law enforcement outside the U.S. should be directed to:

Ancestry Ireland Unlimited Company
Attn: Legal Department, Law Enforcement Request
52-55 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay
Dublin 2, Republic of Ireland

Email Address: [email protected]

Receipt of correspondence by any of these means is for convenience only and does not waive any objections, including the lack of jurisdiction or proper service.


Sidestepping the "lynch mob"
It does appear that way.. but looks like that case could've probably set a precedent and the floodgates would've opened up.. :yep:
I checked out their policy and it's very clear... so why did they even try?

All this says is they denied a request because it was improperly served. Doesn't that just mean that someone didn't follow the correct process to get the data? Not sure Ancestry deserves a ticker tape parade because...