How 1 Person Can Expose The Identities of 1000

Your genetic code is probably already in a database, without you ever giving a sample or permission. This video is sponsored by Brilliant. The first 200 people to sign up via get 20% off a yearly subscription.

A huge thanks to Paul Holes, Billy Jensen, Brett Williams, Dr Connie Bormans and Dr Doc Edge for being part of this video. Thanks to Verogen and Family Tree DNA for giving me access to film.

Thanks to Sonya Pemberton, Joe Hanson, Raquel Nuno, CGP Grey, and numerous Patreon supporters for helpful feedback on an earlier version of this video.

Phillips, C. (2018). The Golden State Killer investigation and the nascent field of forensic genealogy. Forensic Science International: Genetics, 36, 186-188. —

Guerrini, C. J., Robinson, J. O., Petersen, D., & McGuire, A. L. (2018). Should police have access to genetic genealogy databases? Capturing the Golden State Killer and other criminals using a controversial new forensic technique. PLoS biology, 16(10), e2006906. —

Ram, N., Guerrini, C. J., & McGuire, A. L. (2018). Genealogy databases and the future of criminal investigation. Science, 360(6393), 1078-1079. —

Special thanks to Patreon supporters: Andrew, Diffbot, Micah Mangione, MJP, Gnare, Nick DiCandilo, Dave Kircher, Edward Larsen, Burt Humburg, Blake Byers, Dumky, Evgeny Skvortsov, Meekay, Bill Linder, Paul Peijzel, Mac Malkawi, Michael Schneider, Big Badaboom, Ludovic Robillard, Jim buckmaster, fanime96, Juan Benet, Ruslan Khroma, Robert Blum, Richard Sundvall, Lee Redden, Vincent, Marinus Kuivenhoven, Alfred Wallace, Clayton Greenwell, Michael Krugman, Cy ‘kkm’ K’Nelson, Sam Lutfi, Ron Neal

Written by Derek Muller
Animation by Iván Tello and Another Angle 3D Visuals (
SFX by Shaun Clifford
Filmed by Derek Muller, Raquel Nuno, Shirley Dutoit, and Emily Zhang
Edited by Derek Muller
Produced by Derek Muller and Casey Rentz
Additional video supplied by Getty Images
Music from Epidemic Sound

Written by Veritasium


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  1. About the Brilliant light task at the end. How can both of the two uper people be honest if they say that two of the three people are lying? That can just not make sense. How is that logical at all? If someone is going to explain this to me then I want an super indept explanation of it.

  2. There's always some fantastic humanist reason why privacy isn't necessary and why you're a skewed apathetic monster if you don't think so.

    It's all fun and games until thought criminals are getting locked up.

  3. Good ending with the duck duck go as it really does show in a way how the people operating these systems care about privacy for themselves but not for the general population. "For thee but for me" as one might say. That aside you did an incredibly poor job in showing opposing points of view from maybe academics and the like, and it felt a lot like the video was leaning on "yes this is good for catching criminals" while barely exploring what other uses (and misuses) this could lead to outside of the "your privacy is not as important as a mother crying because her child got murdered" which was a strawman at best and blatantly trying to depict privacy advocates in a bad light at worst.

  4. I've always hated this argument. "Why don't you want to give us your DNA? We can help a mother find the killer of her daughter.. what are you a monster?".
    They keep trying to do the same thing on internet using pedophiles and terrorists as an excuse. "Why don't you want to let us snoop on your phone or private conversation on the internet? We could be catching pedophiles! If you don't have anything to hide you shouldn't care. What are you a monster?"
    Sorry but you won't guilt me into giving up my privacy and DNA on the off chance that it could help catch a criminal.

  5. See these tools in the hands of 1930s Germany. Everyone is one election or government change away from something similar.
    The real criminals here are the State, having any dna database at all, let alone cheating and accessing private ones. Remember not long ago they never existed. Beware of a 'perfect' authoritarian world. It is the end of freedom. Tomorrow eating meat might be criminalised. Anything you can think of as normal now, can be changed in its legality. Oh and bear in mind on crime, nothing is easier than dna to plant at a crime scene. The next generation of criminals will adapt to that.

  6. First of all regarding Health insurance, MEDICARE FOR ALL !!!
    But personal information is becoming less and less personal, especially web browsing info that is match more personal than DNA !
    NSA assholes stalked people they were sexually interested. Humans should not have access to your personal info.
    SO What to do ?
    1. Allow computers and not humans to analyze data ONLY for very serious crimes by law.
    2. Make it legal to reveal any illegal practice of the government.
    3. Allow congress investigators access to all classified info except the personal data only computer have access (that they could reveal if it is illegal actions from the government).
    4. Allow licked info to be used at court against the government.

  7. I’m not sure I’m happy with the privacy implications. This isn’t too dissimilar to the police coming in to your house to have a look through you’re photos, your old letters and other documents. Just because they aren’t looking for you doesn’t make it any better.

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