GEDmatch, which was founded in 2010, initially allowed police to use its data only to investigate rapes and homicides. After it allowed Utah police to use the database while investigating an assault, the site received so much criticism that in June it changed its policy, making it so users must opt in to having their data accessible to police.

The change made the site nearly useless to law enforcement, dropping the number of profiles police could access from over a million to just 50,000. Verogen said Wednesday some 200,000 users have opted in.

However, concerns about the privacy of GEDmatch users have deepened. The New York Times reported last month that a Florida judge had granted a warrant to search GEDmatch’s full database. And a team of researchers demonstrated how security flaws might allow a hacker to access highly personal genetic information.

Williams said increasing privacy protections would be a top priority for Verogen. The company said it would upgrade security and honor users’ previously selected opt-in preferences. The technology it sells crime labs, Williams said, would also include far less revealing genomic data than profiles uploaded from companies such as 23andMe Inc.

Williams said Verogen also plans to upgrade the website, which was started and run by two genealogy hobbyists in their spare time.

This story was provided by Bloomberg News.

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