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Department of Homeland Security Prepares to Grab DNA From Kids
May 15, 2012
A Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation has revealed a plan by the Department of Homeland Security to collect DNA from children 14 years old and up without a search warrant or criminal prosecution.
EFF reported on Monday that the DHS plan
appears to be working its way through DHS in the wake of regulations from the Department of Justice that require all federal agencies – including DHS and its components such as ICE – to collect DNA from individuals arrested for federal crimes as well as “from non-United States persons who are detained under the authority of the United States,” whether or not they have been involved in criminal activity.
“Collecting DNA from anyone detained by the government for any number of non-criminal reasons – especially juveniles – seems to be yet another step on the slippery slope to collecting DNA from everyone in the United States, no matter their status,” writes Jennifer Lynch for the digital rights organization.
The unconstitutional trend picked up traction in 2009 when the FBI joined 15 states in taking DNA samples from people who have been arrested or detained but not convicted. At the time, the FBI database contained 6.7 million DNA profiles with a backlog of 500,000 cases. It expected a 15-fold increase in that number by 2012.
Congress has enthusiastically jumped on the DNA collection bandwagon under the cover of protecting children. The Katie Sepich Enhanced DNA Collection Act of 2010 uses the power of the purse string to convince states to keep and expand existing DNA collection programs. According to the law, increased federal crime-fighting funding will be available to states that have DNA-collection programs.
The federal government has launched a “DNA Initiative” that provides “funding, training and assistance to ensure that forensic DNA reaches its full potential to solve crimes, protect the innocent and identify missing persons.”
In 2011, the Third Circuit ruled in United States v. Mitchell that arbitrary collection of DNA from arrestees not convicted of a crime does represent a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment. “Note that this has to do with testing in the absence of probable cause (or even a reasonable suspicion) that the DNA would be evidence related to a crime,” writes Eugene Volokh.
The collection and processing of DNA by the government will be streamlined by the development of new technology. Defense contractors Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman have developed a rapid DNA analysis platform they plan to release this summer. Northrup Grumman developed its device for the U.S. Army.
“A portable, breadbox-sized scanner could map out your body’s DNA in less than an hour — and the Feds want it added to the agency’s tool bag,” Fox News reported last year. Prior to releasing information on the device to the media, the government issued its standard caveat about civil liberties.
“Sources at DHS assure FoxNews.com that evaluation of the DNA-screening technology will occur only after the department sets privacy and civil liberties safeguards — a vitally important step to protect such highly personal information,” Mickey McCarter wrote in March, 2011.
The DHS effort to target children reveals that the government has ambitiously stepped up efforts to DNA profile the populace and will continue to introduce new technology designed to add millions of profiles to the government’s databases.
DNA profiles are a critical component in the global elite’s emerging surveillance and ultimately its control grid. DNA profiles compliment efforts by the NSA and other agencies to track and trace us through electronic communication and create comprehensive dossiers of our medical and bank records in an effort to surveil all aspects of our personal lives.
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