Tag Archives: Privacy

Fetal microchimerism as a (new?) form of forensic evidence – could my scientific idea solve the Tegan Lane mystery?

So, here’s my understanding of the bare bones of the situation; young mother is sent to jail for the best part of her life after one of her offspring, a daughter reportedly born and conceived during an “affair”, cannot be found by child welfare dept. Mother claims she gave newborn to the baby’s biological father to raise in an informal arrangement, but is no longer in contact with him. Police reportedly searched high and low for baby and custodial father, unsuccessfully, and charged the mother with murder, despite no body or forensic evidence of foul play. The very existence of the custodial father is disputed by some, and it is unclear how these people believe the female child was conceived. Maybe they are very religious, or maybe they have assumed that the biological father was this woman’s regular partner, with whom she did not wish to raise a child. The man in the affair, if he exists, could be living in any part of the world.

Finding the “missing” daughter alive should be a “get out of jail” card for the mother, but perhaps proving her identity to the satisfaction of relevant authorities might not be a simple matter. Finding the custodial or biological father of the “missing” child could solve the mystery of what happened to the child, and would also lend some credibility to the mother’s account of what happened to the child. An obvious potential type of tool to solve this mystery would be genealogical DNA sharing databases, as have been used to investigate crimes such as the repulsive Golden State Killer. I’m not sure whether police powers would be required to complete this kind of investigation in this case, and I’m also not sure whether the jailed mother has or even could practically or legally pursue this line of investigation using her own DNA, from within the confines of jail.

It appears that there is no record of the DNA of the missing daughter (who would now be a young adult if still alive) as the Guthrie Test was never done on her as a newborn (a battery of genetic tests on a blood sample to detect rare disorders treatable in infancy), but I think there is a better than even chance that the mother still is in posession of some of that child’s DNA, and also DNA of that child’s father. How? Where? Inside her body, through fetomaternal microchimerism  also possibly through male microchimerism. To complicate matters, the mother has also had a number of pregnancies and partners, so she will have quite a library of other people’s DNA chugging around in her veins and living within her organs, potentially even within her brain (as is that case in any well-lived woman’s life), but I believe that searching for that particular child’s DNA inside the body of the jailed biological mother could possibly by done by a process of elimination, in a laboratory. I guess whatever DNA content in the child’s genome is not identical with the mother’s DNA must be the natural, custodial father’s DNA. Not all of his DNA will be present, but perhaps enough DNA to use to find him or his relatives on a DNA sharing database. There you go!

P.S. Do blood banks and tissue or organ donation organisations need to review their privacy policies to acknowedge the fact that various facts can be deduced about a woman’s (and maybe a man’s) sexual, reproductive and family history from microchimerism testing of their blood or tissues?

Note – This page and all pages at this blog are permanently archived, and if you choose to copy my words or plagiarize any of my ideas, if I was the first to publish that idea or ideas, I will find out and I will make you sorry.

Links to more info

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Microchimerism&oldid=881842128

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2887685/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3458919/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2633676/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3921195/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4199806/

 

Australia’s Face Verification Service

News that I didn’t have time to write about in November last year. The federal government of Australia plans to create a database of photo-id images. I’m not sure if this is just the National Facial Biometric Matching Capability renamed.

“A Face Identification Service (FIS) is expected to commence in 2017 to help determine the identity of unknown persons. It will be used for investigations of serious offences by specialist officers.”

Couldn’t be less detail or description or explanation in this statement.

https://www.ag.gov.au/RightsAndProtections/IdentitySecurity/Pages/Face-verification-service.aspx

https://www.itnews.com.au/news/australias-new-facial-verification-system-goes-live-441484

http://www.zdnet.com/article/australian-face-verification-service-starts-with-citizenship-imagery/

 

Interesting questions and serious concerns

Revell, Timothy Concerns as face recognition tech used to ‘identify’ criminals. New Scientist. December 1st 2016.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2114900-concerns-as-face-recognition-tech-used-to-identify-criminals/

Garvie, Clare, Bedoya, Alvaro and Frankle, Jonathan The perpetual line-up: unregulated police face recognition in America. Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law. OCTOBER 18th 2016.

https://www.perpetuallineup.org/

Is there really a criminal face? I don’t think the research discussed in the New Scientist article settles the debate by any means, but at least the controversial idea is opened up for investigation. If there is one my guess is that it is a look that coincides with the Australian face (every race and nation has a distinctive averaged facial type, apparently). European colonisation of Australia began as a penal colony and thus a good part of the white genetics of Australians arrived in this country through people identified as criminals. My best guess is that the crim face has a large straight nose, thin lips and puffy, small eyes. I’d guess this unattractive face could in itself be a social and economic disadvantage, or could be symptomatic of a phenotype that includes some degree of intellectual impairment. I think if there is a crim face it might have little to do with personality but a lot to do with disadvantage, but this is all speculation.

I think it is worth noting that claims made in the print version of this article about supposed advantages of AI over humans in face recognition skills such as identifying age, gender, ethnicity and tiredness by looking at faces presumably only apply to humans of average face recognition ability who maybe are not as exhaustively trained in these skills as the AI systems have been. One cannot compare human ability with AI in face recognition until appropriately trained super-recognizers (representing the top end of human ability) have been pitted against machines. I’m guessing this hasn’t been done.

Perhaps the most important part of this article is right at the end; “…the majority of US police departments using face recognition do little to ensure that the software is accurate.” That certainly is not good enough. Human super-recognizers have abilities that have been proven in scientific testing and also in practice in policing in the UK. Why do so many people persist in the assumption that machines must be better than humans in visual processing, in the face of an abundance of evidence? The link in the New Scientist article to the website of the researchers who have criticized the use of face recognition technology in law enforcement in the United States of America is worth a look for sure.

Today’s news about The Capability

http://www.biometricupdate.com/201512/australian-govt-says-national-facial-biometric-system-will-maintain-privacy-safeguards

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-17/government’s-facial-recognition-system-sparks-privacy-concerns/7035980

http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2015/s4374161.htm

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/governments-facial-biometric-system-carries-a-low-risk-everyday-activities-could-be-tracked-20151216-glp7np.html

 

In New Scientist

Face recognition row over right to identify you in the street

15:41 19 June 2015 by Hal Hodson

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn27754-face-recognition-row-over-right-to-identify-you-in-the-street.html#.VYktFPmqpBd

Many of the clever face recognition tasks done by technology described here could be done by an experienced super-recognizer employee, and commentators concerned about privacy can go have a big cry over the things that supers can do, because you can’t legislate that people such as super-recognizers should refrain from using natural talents.

And more…..

Facebook can recognise you in photos even if you’re not looking

15:27 22 June 2015 by Aviva Rutkin

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn27761-facebook-can-recognise-you-in-photos-even-if-youre-not-looking.html#.VYp5JPmqpBc

Interesting

This story about “information artist” Heather Dewey-Hagborg  creating art (face) portraits made based on genetic information from strangers is not new, but it is new to me and I think interesting

http://youtu.be/IIh9X-EZsjI

http://youtu.be/666Kq95xm1o

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23677-artworks-highlight-legal-debate-over-abandoned-dna.html#.VP0QMvmUd8E

http://youtu.be/j2SjNSlRbvM

Plan to use CCTV and crowd-sourced face recognition to shame Highgate street-whore customers

City of Vincent mayor Alannah MacTiernan said “she wanted the CCTV footage featuring the faces and vehicle licence plates of kerb crawlers to be released publicly in a bid to shame them and deter others”. Ordinary law-abiding citizens have our faces viewed and recorded whenever we go out in public in the city and much of the suburbs, so I don’t see why images of kerb-crawlers in public places shouldn’t also be recorded and scrutinized.

http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/wa/16584880/plan-to-shame-kerb-crawlers/