The biggest immediate concern is that familial searches are racially discriminatory. African-Americans represent about 13 percent of the United States population but 40 percent of the people convicted of felonies every year.
Hank Greely of Stanford Law School has estimated that 17 percent of African-American citizens could be identified through familial searches, compared with only 4 percent of the Caucasian population. Is it fair to subject African-American families to disproportionate genetic surveillance simply because one member of the family committed a crime in the past?
Some proponents of familial searches, like Dr. Frederick Bieber of Harvard Medical School, have insisted that "crime cluster[s] in families,” in language that echoes the discredited eugenic family studies of the early 20th century, with their discriminatory emphasis on “genetic criminality.” In a state with a history of tension between African-American citizens and the police, California’s familial searching policy may provoke a debate that makes the one over racial profiling look tame.
Why it's wrong to catch criminals using the DNA profiles of their convicted felon relatives
Law professor Jeffrey Rosen says: