TrueAllele DNA algorithm transparency

July 2021
Updated: November 2021

The Washington Post reports on a court case in Fairfax County, Virginia, that may see a widely used though secretive DNA analysis algorithm being opened for review.

Despite the high risks of wrongful convictions, the algorithm's developer Cybergenetics has resisted prosecutors, government crime laboratories, researchers and other experts inspecting how it works on the basis that it is a trade secret.

Having subpoenaed Virginia's Department of Forensic Science, public defender Bryan Kennedy was informed by Cybergenetics that the algorithm could only be reviewed by a defence expert under an the terms of a non-disclosure agreement the terms of which included a USD 15,000 fee and permission only to take handwritten notes.

The Post notes that the case may help etermine the future of DNA evidence and whether TrueAllele is a 'quantum leap in forensics' or is another flawed justice tool.

Operator: Virginia Department of Forensic Science (DFS)
Developer:
Cybergenetics
Country: USA
Sector:
Govt - justice
Purpose: Analyse DNA
Technology: Probabilistic genotyping
Issue: Accuracy/reliability
Transparency: Governance; Black box