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US Set on Expansion of Security DNA Collection 162

Posted by Zonk
from the i-keep-my-dna-in-my-cells-thankyouverymuch dept.
An anonymous reader dropped us a link to this New York Times article about a 'vast expansion' of DNA sampling here in the US. A little-noticed rider to the January 2006 renewal of the 'Violence Against Women Act' allows government agencies to collect DNA samples from any individual arrested by federal authorities, and from every illegal immigrant held for any length of time by US agents. The goal is to make DNA collection as routine a part of detainment as fingerprinting and photography. Privacy experts and immigrant rights groups are decrying this initiative already. Many are also skeptical of lab throughput, as FBI analysts indicate this may increase intake by as much as a million samples per year. There is already a backlog of 150,000 samples waiting to be entered into the agency's database.
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US Set on Expansion of Security DNA Collection

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  • by meringuoid (568297) on Monday February 05, 2007 @07:12AM (#17887954)
    For some time now, anyone arrested for any offence in the UK gets DNA samples taken and added to a national database. These samples are not destroyed nor are the records deleted even if you are released without charge, or found not guilty. There are now some 3.4 million samples on record, out of a country of some 60 million.

    Of course, the innocent have nothing to fear from this. We Love Big Blair.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      With any luck, Big Blair himself will get added to the database shortly...after all, his close friends have and he wouldn't want to be left out...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bri2000 (931484)
        Those who have actually been arrested (Lord Levy et al) should already have been added. It always amuses me how the politicians give the police their unconditional support when they're, for example, pumping bullets into some guy's head in down in Stockwell tube station but start whining about the presumption of innocence and police heavy handedness the moment these powers start being used to investigate the politicians' own criminal behaviour.
    • Doesn't your government also fingerprint children in schools, as if they're potential criminals? The automatic assumption of guilt and criminal intent is incredible at the moment.
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Yes they do. In many schools you are fingerprinted to access
        the library and school meals, and this is done without
        the consent of (or even consultation with) parents.

        Let the demise of freedom in the UK be a salutory warning
        to others around the world. It is only the inactivity of
        my stupid stupid countrymen that has allowed this nighmare
        to arise.
        • by Malakusen (961638)

          Good evening, London. Allow me first to apologize for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of every day routine- the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition. I enjoy them as much as any bloke. But in the spirit of commemoration, thereby those important events of the past usually associated with someone's death or the end of some awful bloody struggle, a celebration of a nice holiday, I thought we could mark this November the 5th, a day that is sadly no longer re

      • by Bogtha (906264) on Monday February 05, 2007 @09:16AM (#17888518)

        I suppose you're referring to this [yorkpress.co.uk], which affected eleven schools in a single city, and like I posted elsewhere [reddit.com]:

        Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show 11 schools in the city are using personal biometric data to identify pupils, but one said today they had suspended the practice, after a local politician voiced concerns.

        A law passed by the government gave information on this to the public, and a politician acted on his constituents' behalves to stop it from continuing. Sure, it's a dumb move, but it's a dumb move that's out in the open and in the process of being corrected, and that is happening because in this case the political process is working properly.

        So no, our government doesn't fingerprint children in schools, unless you count one city where it was tried and rejected by the public and politicians alike.

      • by r3m0t (626466)
        My school also stores fingerprints in the library system. They used to stick barcodes onto our lunch cards (which are chip based) but apparently that took too long.

        Our lunch cards are still just chip based, not fingerprint-based.
    • One of the biggest concerns on privacy is that the computers can spit out near hits. You have a brother who has been previously arrested for a crime and is in the database. Just say you were in the apartment of somebody who later was murdered. You used a razorblade shaving. They take the DNA from there, and discover that a very close relative of this criminal was in the apartment. You will be getting a visit very soon. They don't need to get everybody's DNA. They just need enough people closely related by
  • dna is cool (Score:5, Insightful)

    by operato (782224) on Monday February 05, 2007 @07:13AM (#17887958)
    i don't think keeping a dna database is much a problem. people just fear that the government would abuse this system and possibly set people up and what not. it just shows people don't trust democracy any more and that they definitely don't trust the people that they voted into power.
    • Re:dna is cool (Score:5, Insightful)

      by StuckInSyrup (745480) on Monday February 05, 2007 @07:21AM (#17887994)
      I live in a post-communist state. I believe in democracy. I allready learned not to fear the governement, but I definitely don't trust them.
    • Re:dna is cool (Score:5, Insightful)

      by toQDuj (806112) on Monday February 05, 2007 @07:25AM (#17888014) Homepage Journal
      Another aspect is that people do not necessarily trust the police.

      DNA gives them a device with which they can point at you and say: "He did it, his DNA was found on the scene". How are you going to disprove that? Perhaps you visited in the past, perhaps not at all. Maybe the wind blew a hair in.

      Now suddenly, everyone with his or her DNA in the database is a suspect. Irrespective of the likelihood that you were in the area, otherwise engaged, or involved with the subject of the crime. Your status has been instantly degraded from "free citizen" to "potential suspect in ALL crimes".

      Moreover, everyone with his or her DNA NOT in the database is much less a suspect. Think about that for a while.

      A DNA test is a "closest match" test, and is only right about 99% of the time. People forget that, juries especially.

      B.
      • Mod Parent Up (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Cyno01 (573917) <Cyno01@hotmail.com> on Monday February 05, 2007 @07:37AM (#17888068) Homepage
        DNA is far from perfect. Semen in a rape case, victims blood on murderers clothes, those are workable applications. But when you hoover a crimescene and test everything, suddenly people with even multiple degrees of seperation become suspects. You may not have commited the murder, but your eyelash was found on the victim. It fell onto that guys shoulder that you bumped into on the street. He's the murderer.
        • DNA is far from perfect. Semen in a rape case, victims blood on murderers clothes, those are workable applications. But when you hoover a crimescene and test everything, suddenly people with even multiple degrees of seperation become suspects. You may not have commited the murder, but your eyelash was found on the victim. It fell onto that guys shoulder that you bumped into on the street. He's the murderer.

          DNA evidence is like any tool: you can use it the right way, and you can use it the wrong way. Conv

        • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          "Semen in a rape case, victims blood on murderers clothes, those are workable applications"

          True. But there still is context to consider even in these cases. All you have to do is look at the Duke rape case to see what race, rape, and DNA did or did not do. "Workable applications" means absolutely nothing to prosecutors these days; the people collecting this database currently and historically are there to rip apart civil rights, not enforce them.

          Further, juries do not tend to deliberate all that intellig
      • by karot (26201)
        A DNA test is a "closest match" test, and is only right about 99% of the time.

        AFAIK, there are several levels of DNA profiling possible, the simplest, quickest and cheapest provide only a one in a few thousand chance of a duplication. The most expensive, complex and slowest can provide a one in several million chance of a false positive.

        All of these tests are better than 99% certain because the labs will do more than just let a "closest match" search convict a criminal. They will provide a "decode" of the v
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by TheMeuge (645043)
          Polymorphism typing can provide you with ANY level of certainty you want. Typing each one will give you 50% certainty or better... so even assuming non-Mendelian distribution for some of them, if you sequence enough of them, you'll get your answer to the 1^-10 certainty.

          But again, there may not be enough material on, say, a single hair follicle, to do all these tests... which is why using it on blood and semen samples is much more accurate.

          But I agree with grandparent - while a DNA sample database isn't nec
      • I think DNA tests are way better than 99% (ie. 1% false positive). However, massive collection of DNA do care a very serious problem in statistical sense.

        Suppose we have got a test which will give wrong answer in one out of 10 millions tests and we need to solve a homocide case. If we start with a number of suspects (say 10 gang associate deal recently with the victim) and use DNA test to nail down the right guy, the test is pretty robust (as long as the lab does not cross-contaminate/ mis-label the sampl
      • You're exactly correct, but... This is no different than what's been going on with fingerprints for years.

        Basically, just do your best to stay out of the database if you don't want to be a suspect in every unsolved crime for the rest of your life. Good luck though... It won't be long until they start taking fourth graders on a field trip to the police station, where they get fingerprinted and swabbed "for fun". They already do it for fingerprints, so why not DNA too?

        You're innocent until they're not sure wh
    • Re:dna is cool (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pubjames (468013) on Monday February 05, 2007 @07:41AM (#17888084)
      This doesn't have anything to do with not trusting democracy.

      Collecting extensive information about people and a "hand over your papers" style government, are more akin to fascist states and dictatorships.
    • It just shows people don't trust democracy any more and that they definitely don't trust the people that they voted into power.

      Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner.

      You are damn right the people don't trust democracy, and they shouldn't either.
      • I've got a better one:

        Capitalism is two wolves haggling over how much a lamb costs.

        Democracy is three lambs voting to make eating lamb illegal.

        Historically, that's a little closer to the truth. People who hate democracy and want to replace it with "market based solutions" scare the crap out of me. I'll be damned if I'm going to let the people with the most money make all the rules.
    • by daigu (111684)

      Perhaps you should do some more reading on the subject then, like the article Soft Surveillance: Mandatory Voluntarism and the Collection of Personal Data [dissentmagazine.org] by Gary T. Marx [mit.edu]. Here's a good quote:

      The first task of a society that would have liberty and privacy is to guard against the misuse of physical coercion by the state and private parties. The second task is to guard against the softer forms of secret and manipulative control. Because these are often subtle, indirect, invisible, diffuse, deceptive, and sh

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Mr. Slippery (47854)

      i don't think keeping a dna database is much a problem.

      I think that in a free nation, any citizen not convicted of a crime who is confronted by a government agent trying to remove any part of his or her flesh, ought to be encouraged to break said agent's arm.

      The sovereignty of the state ends at my skin. No medical procedure, no matter how trivial, can legitimately be forced on an free innocent adult.

      people just fear that the government would abuse this system and possibly set people up and what not.

    • What about DNA screening? I'm more worried about them screening for genetic disorders to determine which are 'quality' citizens? As others have said, I don't fear the government, I just don't trust them.
    • When was the last time you voted an FBI agent or a Federal prosecutor into power?
    • It's not what they are doing with it today but what are they doing with the information tomorrow that is the concern. Also there is a little thing called innocent until proven guilty. Samples should be destroyed for those that aren't convicted. Since a large number of people may be arrested and never even charged yet will be part of a criminal database.

      Eventually most people will be in the database whether they like it or not. Already anyone in the military has DNA recorded. Some government jobs as well.

    • by monkeydo (173558)
      Have you read the Declaration of Independance? The Federalist Papers? The Constitution? The whole point of the structure of our government is that the people shouldn't trust the government.
  • by spineboy (22918) on Monday February 05, 2007 @07:17AM (#17887972) Journal
    There are many quotes by our forefathers regarding this. It's a slow death, a slippery slope. We must avoid national security cards, mass DNA fingerprinting, etc, otherwise we will become like the old Soviet state, where you were screwed if you didn't have your "papers".
  • by toQDuj (806112) on Monday February 05, 2007 @07:31AM (#17888042) Homepage Journal
    Lynn Parrish is quoted saying: "Rapists are generalists. They don't just rape, they also murder."

    brr.

    I can see where this is heading. "Robbers don't just rob, they also murder." --> "Beggers don't just beg, they also murder." --> "People spitting on the ground don't just spit on the ground, they also murder."
    Basically what she's saying is that all criminals are inherently equal, and potential murderers, and thus deserve to be treated in the worst way.

    Now pray, do tell me that that is not a scary viewpoint.
    B.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by spellraiser (764337)

      Another frightening stereotype that's drawn up to justify these measures seems to be the idea that illegal immigrants are generally sexual predators:

      The 2006 amendment was sponsored by two border state Republicans, Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona and Senator John Cornyn of Texas. In an interview, Mr. Kyl said the measure was broadly drawn to encompass illegal immigrants as well as Americans arrested for federal crimes. He said that 13 percent of illegal immigrants detained in Arizona last year had criminal reco

      • by Hognoxious (631665) on Monday February 05, 2007 @09:10AM (#17888478) Homepage Journal
        Is truth an absolute defence against racism? If it turned out that 13% of ilegal immigrants did indeed have criminal records, surely it's just a statement of fact?
        • You have a valid point there ... facts are facts.

          However, what is implied from the facts, and the actions that are taken based on them, is what's under discussion. My main worry is that the statistics are being used to lump all illegal immigrants into the same category; potential violent criminals. They are definitely being targeted specifically. Okay, so racism is perhaps a bit harsh, but it certainly is discrimination.

        • by Tim C (15259) on Monday February 05, 2007 @09:47AM (#17888744)
          Facts are facts, but this is unsubstantiated opinion:

          "The number of sexual assaults committed by illegal immigrants is astonishing."

          The implication is that illegal immigrants commit a huge number of sexual assaults; worded that way it sounds as though they commit a disproportionate number, perhaps even the majority of them.

          Yet there are no figures given to back up that statement, and "astonishing" is a subjective (and emotive) term. It's FUD at the very least, if not outright racism.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Mr. Slippery (47854)

          If it turned out that 13% of ilegal immigrants did indeed have criminal records, surely it's just a statement of fact?

          There is a difference between "13% of people here illegally have been convicted of a crime in their home country," and "13% of people who are here illegally and who make enough trouble or slip up enough to get caught been convicted of a crime in their home country".

          There's also a huge leap between "have a criminal record" and "have commited sexual assault".

          The Kyl quote seems to skip

      • by bhima (46039) <Bhima.PandavaNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday February 05, 2007 @09:39AM (#17888684) Journal
        I was just in the US and I was shocked at the increase of racist things my family & I were subjected to, as compared to around 5 years ago when we moved away from the US. I realize that's it is pretty obvious my girlfriend isn't Anglo (She's Cambodian) and our daughter is... well *ours* and that we don't speak English amongst ourselves. But I will never for the life of me understand why someone would use insults aimed at Mexicans at a family of mixed race speaking Czech in the US.

        It amazes me how effectively the Mexicans have been turned into the new enemy in the US.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by m0rph3us0 (549631)
        Yeah, who would imagine that illegal immigrants had also committed other crimes. Illegal immigrants must be great upstanding "citizens" who only break the law whenever it suits them.

        How is it racism? I didn't see him mention race anywhere, it can only be racism if you believe illegal immigrants belong to a particular race. The foundation of your accusation of racsim underlies your own racism.

    • by kabocox (199019)
      Lynn Parrish is quoted saying: "Rapists are generalists. They don't just rape, they also murder."
      brr.
      I can see where this is heading. "Robbers don't just rob, they also murder." --> "Beggers don't just beg, they also murder." --> "People spitting on the ground don't just spit on the ground, they also murder."
      Basically what she's saying is that all criminals are inherently equal, and potential murderers, and thus deserve to be treated in the worst way.
      Now pray, do tell me that that is not a scary viewp
      • by toQDuj (806112)
        Hmm, I'm not sure I want to know about people's past.

        What people did in their past, is their business. If they want to tell me, that's fine, it'll make me understand them better. If they do not want to tell me, equally as fine. They suffered for their sins, either mentally, physically or both.

        That does not mean I unconditionally trust people.

        B.
        • by kabocox (199019)
          Hmm, I'm not sure I want to know about people's past.
          What people did in their past, is their business. If they want to tell me, that's fine, it'll make me understand them better. If they do not want to tell me, equally as fine. They suffered for their sins, either mentally, physically or both.
          That does not mean I unconditionally trust people.


          I'm an information junky. If the public wants to know about only a certain class of criminal, I ask why not all former criminals? I have kids, but generally don't care
  • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Monday February 05, 2007 @07:37AM (#17888066)
    The first is the "show us your papers" police state behavior that has a camera on every street corner, national identity cards, huge databases of citizen info, warrantless monitoring of telephone and internet traffic, computerized gerrymandering, cell phone location tracking, etc, etc, etc.

    The second is the "buy now!" corporation state behavior that has every purchase, every click, every commercial fast-forwarded through monitored and recorded and analyzed, while MAFIAA-DRM "loss prevention" and RFID tags in your underwear close the few remaining loopholes.

    Between the politicians greed for limitless power and the corporations limitless greed for wealth, the average citizen doesn't stand a chance. Like the frog in the pot of water, they keep raising the temperature and we keep not noticing. When I read these stories I think: "By God, if there was anywhere to go, I would".

    /me puts tinfoil hat back on and crawls back under the bed.
  • by DynamicPhil (785187) on Monday February 05, 2007 @07:41AM (#17888082)
    ... well, we are all thinking of goverment as big brother - what about private contractors wanting this?
    What will you do when goverment decides private firms (haliburton, or one of your private health insurance corporations) are the best entities to run these things. Outsourcing, anyone?

    How do you absolutely guarantee that the DNA database wont be used for employee application selection, or for deciding your premium on your health insurance?

    I'll just mention that Sweden has a (for medical use only - but that's currently under discussion) DNA database of all in sweden newborns since 1975 (if you havent specifically asked for non-participation), called the PKU database. It's still ongoing (my little dude was just last week registred - he's a couple of weeks)

    Certain "high profile" crimes have been resulted in that the use of this database is under discussion - and the debate is for what uses this database could/should be used.

    My hopes are that never, ever will this database be sent to the US/Feds/CIA (as flight iternaries are), and also that private corporation use is prohibited. Think of the society where your employer knows all about your DNA... (go see GATTACA).
    • by kabocox (199019)
      I'll just mention that Sweden has a (for medical use only - but that's currently under discussion) DNA database of all in sweden newborns since 1975 (if you havent specifically asked for non-participation), called the PKU database. It's still ongoing (my little dude was just last week registred - he's a couple of weeks)

      Certain "high profile" crimes have been resulted in that the use of this database is under discussion - and the debate is for what uses this database could/should be used.

      My hopes are that ne
  • Sad (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pubjames (468013) on Monday February 05, 2007 @07:44AM (#17888096)

    I'm a European, I love to travel, and I've recently decided I'm not going to travel to the USA until things improve there. How sad is that?

    How quickly things can change...
    • by logru (909550)
      I second that. When the fingerprinting at the airport started I figured that there isn't really anything there I want to see that much.
    • Considering how you don't even enjoy First Amendment protections in Europe then it is particularly sad. It's sad that you're so damned blinkered to always be bemoaning the impending fascism of the US while ignoring your own conditions.
      • by Ihlosi (895663)
        Considering how you don't even enjoy First Amendment protections in Europe then it is particularly sad.



        Huh ? Well, of course we don't enjoy first amendment protections, considering that the constitution of the US doesn't apply here. However, similar terms can be found in the constitutions/equivalents thereof of many European countries ("Europe" isn't a country).

        • Pick a European country (and yes I know Europe isn't a country but the original post wasn't being specific) and let's compare and contrast those free speech rights.

          My point was that the original post lamented about how horrible things were getting in the US while ignoring the fact that many personal rights are more restricted in the majority of European countries.
  • by Eivind Eklund (5161) on Monday February 05, 2007 @07:46AM (#17888106) Journal
    Dear americans,

    Riders is a total loophole in the democracy that's possible to drive a dictatorship through. Given your use of power internationally (both diplomatic and violent power), we would prefer if you had a better functioning democracy. Do you have any estimated time-to-fix? Even a time-to-start-working-on-a-fix would be helpful.

    Thanks!

    Eivind.

    • What makes you assume that we have any more control of our democracy than you do?
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Ihlosi (895663)
        What makes you assume that we have any more control of our democracy than you do?

        Isn't that one of the things that makes Americans so proud and superior to the rest of the world ?



        Apart from your second amendment and such, you still have the right to vote (and to run for office - that's equally important) over there.

      • Knowledge of the US political model, including how a significant fraction of americans tend to automatically disregard those that are not from the US.

        Effectively, you CAN campaign for reforms of this, and any campaign done by a foreigner will be ineffective.

        And I already just did the only thing that I can do: Appeal to the people of the US to help turn it into a proper democracy, which they can do by being OUTRAGED at the existence of riders and unread laws. Scream about it. Tell your neighbour. Tell

        • Uh, and the Europeans voted for all the regulations that the EU enacted? No, they did not. The EU is a horrible example and I'll keep ours, thank you.
          • I'm perfectly with you on the EU being a bad example. You can look to some of the member states as reasonable democracies, though, and there are non-members that are fairly good (Australia has an interesting voting system, for instance). Anyway, I was speaking of a particular point: Riders. Riders is a hack on the voting system, one that could be removed without any major change (except it being somewhat more work to pass legislation, which is almost certainly a good thing.)

            This has nothing to do with

    • by Afecks (899057) on Monday February 05, 2007 @09:09AM (#17888474)
      Given your use of power internationally (both diplomatic and violent power), we would prefer if you had a better functioning democracy.

      If you want to draw a line down the middle and say "only your side of the house is on fire" then by all means have at it. You could pitch in too if you wanted though. Simply by voting in your own country (lead by example) and educating everyone you come in contact with online about the dangers we face from giving up our privacy and freedoms. I'm sure pissing in our faces and asking "how's the weather" isn't the right way to go about it though.
      • by Ihlosi (895663) on Monday February 05, 2007 @09:37AM (#17888664)
        If you want to draw a line down the middle and say "only your side of the house is on fire" then by all means have at it.

        It's not just that your side of the house is on fire, you're also making everyone else pour gas on their side.

        Do you think my country can do anything about the ever-increasing loads of crap that I get shoved down my throat everytime I enter the US ? I'm still putting up with it because of family over there, but once they revoke the visa waiver program ("security experts" are in favor of this measure, or so I've heard), I'm going to call it quits.

        My wife doesn't get fingerprinted or otherwise harassed when we return from the US.

        • by Afecks (899057)
          Do you think my country can do anything about the ever-increasing loads of crap that I get shoved down my throat everytime I enter the US?

          I don't know what country you're from but if you're big enough to make some of our businesses feel the hurt from lack of tourism then simply not coming here and letting us know why could be enough to get something positive happening in congress. As long as our constitution is still standing there is a chance we can undo all these knee-jerk anti-terrorism laws and poli
      • by Eivind Eklund (5161) on Monday February 05, 2007 @11:06AM (#17889542) Journal
        I *do* vote in my own country, and I *do* spend time educating people. I even spent a bunch of time attempting to set up a political party working for the primary difficulty I see for my own country (low education level for the politicans, distance between scientific knowledge and the ruling politicians), though that never really got off the ground.

        However, at this point the major problem I see isn't local: It is global, and it is that the US is slipping with fear. This brings the major democratic problems of the US to the foreground, and "riders" is one of these. The other primary problems are disenfranchment of the voters, IMO primarily due to indirect effects of the election system (winner-takes-all giving a two-party system instead of the plurality of parties typical when using a more proportional system of voting) and the use of paid advertising for candidates, thus giving the impression that only those with money can win (which may or may not be right, there's reasonable economic arguments that it isn't.)

        Anyway, since you did not like my way of attempting to humourously highlight these problems: How would you highlight them? How would you point out, in this forum, that the US has large democratic issues and hopefully get some of the people living there riled up about these issues enough that they start to do something about them? How would you get you yourself riled up enough that you start to actively work to get the US to have a better democracy?

        In all friendliness and with the hope of a better tomorrow, Eivind.

    • Dear Rest of World,

      Voting appears ineffective. Total system corruption appears inevitable. Please send another copy of manual of Democracy, ours has been misplaced. Please instruct on how to reboot the system.

      Help!

      - U.S. Citizens.
  • Bahumbug (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bandraginus (901166)
    Given how easy it is to culture, grow, and then plant somebody else's DNA [abc.net.au] this is a truly sobering initiative. No jury will every entertain the fact that DNA evidence could be wrong... it's so well drilled into us by TV.

    How many criminals wear gloves? That's how many criminals will potentially carry a bottle of somebody's cultured DNA.

  • Why are immigrants rights groups getting angry. The article says it would be applied to illegal immigrants (or at least the summary does - no-one read the actual article do they?). As a person who has only briefly visited the USA, my understanding of the law was the illegal immigrants had very little rights and they are obviously committing a crime being in the country illegally and all... I have no problem with DNA samples being taken from people committing crimes.
    • by ganjadude (952775)
      I have no problem with DNA samples being taken from people committing crimes.

      Ok so I pull you over for having a tail light out, your committing a crime, do we take your DNA and test it on the spot? you dont have anything to hide right so let me go back to my patrol car and grab my kit, your not on file you say? well in the eyes of the law you just commited a crime, ill be taking a sample now thank you
      • by Bogtha (906264)

        well in the eyes of the law you just commited a crime

        No, in the eyes of the law, you are a suspect. You aren't a criminal until you either plead guilty or are found guilty in court.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday February 05, 2007 @08:01AM (#17888174)
    Fingerprints are bad enough, but at least they aren't much use beyond identification (and any abuses of identification).

    But DNA? They say they are collecting it for identification, but it's practically your personal biological blueprint. Once enough of the population has their DNA recorded, you can expect to see all kinds of non-identification uses and novel abuses. Expect to see the data sold to companies that do background checks, so that potential employers can check for the "alcohol abuse gene" or the "predisposed to violent rage" gene, or subtle forms of racial discrimination like the gene that causes sickle-cell anemia.

    Who knows what the future holds? Privacy is like Pandora's Box - once you give it away, you can never get it back. Anyone clinging to the, "If you haven't done anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about" meme just lacks imagination.
    • by Chmcginn (201645)

      so that potential employers can check for the "alcohol abuse gene" or the "predisposed to violent rage" gene

      Damn, like I need two more strokes against me...

  • I thought they had already accomplished this by making parents do it in case their child is abducted. They get a dental impression and a cheek swab for DNA. Granted, it would take another 60 or 70 years to make sure you had everyone, but they are well on their way.

    Ooohh, be carful of little Bobby, better give us a sample of his DNA to hold on record forever.

  • by mrpeebles (853978) on Monday February 05, 2007 @08:43AM (#17888350)
    As I understand it, they keep actual samples to allow future testing after technology has improved. This means that in 30 years, we could imagine a scenario where insurance companies deny your grandchildren coverage because of your genetic makeup. Or, less realistically, the government could decide that some set of genes were bad- for example, caused a tendency for violence- and they would have the tools ready to round people up and arrest them. I can't imagine the government doing this, but the 20th century taught us we always have to be vigilent againt totalitarian regimes developing.

    Finally- remember that you don't have to be arrested for them to get your DNA. You may be a model citizen, but have a family member who, eg, because he is at an anti-war rally, gets arrested and gets his DNA taken, and then the government essentially has your DNA too.
    • That last sentence -- wow. Do you not understand DNA? Is that your twin (which is still not an exact match) or a cousin (which is not much of a match at all)? Looked at it your way, take a swab from a Mongolian steppe nomad, "and then the government essentially has your DNA too". Because, it contains most of the infor to make a human.
      • by mrpeebles (853978)
        Wow. Your post is pretty rude. Well, my PhD is in physics, not biology, but I think I have some understanding of DNA. And, believe it or not, you and your sibling do share quite a bit of DNA. They can be related through the study of something called "statistics." For example, according to NPR, it happens all the time that DNA samples from crime scenes match those of people in prison closely enough to let the police know that the crime was committed by a close relative of the person in prison. Whether this m
  • 6 degrees (Score:4, Insightful)

    by caudron (466327) on Monday February 05, 2007 @09:29AM (#17888594) Homepage
    More a question than a comment, but if old uncle Jethro decides to up and rob a liquor store (we always knew how much Jethro loved his liquor) and they collect DNA from him, what does that mean for the rest of the family? I mean, DNA isn't just a way to identify the person. It's a way to identify entire familial relations. So, having never knocked over a liquor store myself (despite those selfish bastards for not giving it away free!) by virtue of a froward uncle, now whenever a liquor store is hit and DNA left behind, not only can they say "looks like Jethro was here" they could conceivably say "looks like a family member of Jethro's was here". What next? Does that give them Probable Cause to DNA test the rest of us...I mean, they KNOW it was one of us, and I do look drunk most of the time.

    I hate to invoke the ol' Slippery Slope argument, but it sure seems like a classic case where the government is poring grease on the slope as we speak.

    Tom Caudron
    http://tom.digitalelite.com/ [digitalelite.com]
  • by argStyopa (232550) on Monday February 05, 2007 @09:43AM (#17888714) Journal
    I see lots of posts about how this portends the US as a totalitarian police state.

    Sorry, but that camel's nose is under the tent - you already let him in. You (the public) has begged and begged for a nanny state that watches over you and caters to your every whim. Got a problem with your neighbor? Let the courts decide. Your crop failed this year? Beg the government for disaster assistance. Hurricane wiped out your below-sea-level home? It *must* be the government's fault for not protecting/saving you, and then complain because the government handouts are insufficient or slow.

    It goes back to the line from "A man for all seasons" - (IIRC) would you tear down the law to get at the devil? Of course? Then what will you hide behind when he comes back at you with his terrible power? If you demand the government keep you safe, employed, fed, housed, and happy, you're a hypocrite if you don't realize that logically this requires extensive surveillance. Kind of like the parent of a toddler.

    Sorry, but we're getting exactly what we've spent at least the last 50 years begging for - government uber alles. Is it such a shock that the government (in order to protect us from stubbing our toe) wants to begin tracking where we are, what we do, and whom we do it with?
    • by VE3OGG (1034632)
      Well, I don't see this as necessarily true. First off, I'm a Canadian, born and bred. My state has free health-care, government subsidies, and disaster relief and yet I do not have to worry about (yet) a national ID card. Nor cameras on every street corner, or anything as ridiculous as what you are proposing. Of course this probably will change, but I notice that the US seems to definitely be spearheading this survelliance-wet-dream while they are often credited as being one of the worst for social services
    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday February 05, 2007 @11:54AM (#17890124) Journal
      You're confusing/conflating State power & Federal power.

      While my State legislators may be a pack of bastards, they're an accountable pack of bastards who have to live where they plan on shitting. The damage they can do is limited to one state.

      Guess what, if my legislatures fuck up my state, I can leave it. Within an hour I can be living in any of three other states. It would suck, but I could commute until finding a job closer to my new home.

      The reason I despise intrusive legislation at the Federal level is because leaving the country is not something that can be quickly done, compared to moving 100 miles.

      As for calling people hypocrites, I fail to see how demanding X, Y, Z logically leads to extensive surveillance. You left out that part of your argument.
  • For years, the hospitals have been collecting DNA from every live birth. They also have records of hand and foot prints. So I don't see whats the point of resisting this. The gov is collecting data on us left and right from the time we are born.
  • The only way to reduce the reliance on DNA records (yet further validate the use of such in court cases, when the innocents are tried), is to increase the signal/noise ratio. In the case of the movie Gattaca, the way the main character assumed another's identity was by collecting miscellaneous tissue (hair, skin, blood) samples and strategically leaving them around the workplace, so that anyone investigating him would find the DNA for the man he was impersonating.

    This could work similarly, if one was, say,
    • by Ihlosi (895663)
      After they find your DNA sample at a liquor store following a robbery, for example, they would be forced to release you,

      Nope. You get stuck in jail, because you're guilty, and you're easy to convict. The DNA proves it.

      At the best, they're forced to pay you off,

      You might want to know that not all US states have laws about the compensation of people who have been imprisoned mistakenly. So, even on the chance that you do get released from prison, there might not be a big cash prize waiting for you out

  • i'm an immigrant to canada, my ultimate destination was the US until i saw how ape-shit crazy and nationalistic americans became after 9/11, so i stayed in canada. later i had to pass the border to get my passport stamped for the landed immigrant visa, i swear when i passed the border even the sun lost it's sparkle, everything was gray, the buildings were gray, the cars and people were gray, the only thing that was bright and pink were the grossly overweight G.I. Joe border patrol guards and their black/bl
  • Right when the original fingerprinting became routine.

    DNA (the genetic fingerprinting) is no different... It helps law-enforcers and is not any more invasive, than the long-accepted practices.

    Whether we should've accepted the original collecting (and archiving) fingerprinting of suspects (rather than convicts) is another story. Maybe, those cleared by the trial should have their fingerprints (and any collected DNA-samples) destroyed. Or, maybe, there is nothing wrong with police having them — how

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      * Yes, it's possible to obtain DNA in ways equally (or less) invasive than collecting finger prints.
      * Yes, a catalog of finger prints seems rather bening.
      * Yes, there is a difference between a finger print catalog and a DNA catalog.....

      DNA can show if you are a carrier for a variety of genetically based health problems, and as has been mentioned already, the chances are that this information would most likely be managed if not also obtained by the private sector at the beh
  • That's Nothing (Score:4, Informative)

    by Doug Dante (22218) on Monday February 05, 2007 @12:44PM (#17890842)
    In Michigan, when a child is born, a government official comes in with a card including all identifying information and takes 5-6 samples of blood and places it on the card. Some are used to test for various rare genetic diseases (which could also be done at the hospital).

    Then the card is placed on file at a "secret location" where security includes a "locked gate", and kept until they're 21 1/2, although I don't think the program has been active that long, so no actual destruction of records has taken place.

    Luckily, when my child was born, I was able to get them to certify that they had destroyed the blood sample, but they really resisted it.

    I tell people about this and they think I'm a nut, but I don't want my kid's DNA in a government warehouse for mass importation into some database.
  • WTF? It sounds great. Collect all the DNA from criminals (or those accused), but what good is collecting DNA if you never compare it to a crime? There are thousands of rape kits that are not processed because the local districts do not have the money to send off the kits to be tested.

    I am sure other crimes will be the same...so what does this DNA database do? I think its primary function will be data mining. Maybe not at first, but eventually through something like the freedom of information act or som

Murphy's Law, that brash proletarian restatement of Godel's Theorem. -- Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"

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