December 17, 2008
The FBI’s National DNA Index System (CODIS database) was created in 1994 to store the genetic profiles of truly serious violent crimes like rape and murder. But with all things governmental, it expanded to include all convicted felons, then misdemeanants and then those arrested by states. Congress allowed its expansion in 2005 and 2006 under the mistaken impression that DNA collection helps prevent crimes and solves the ones committed. Unlike crime-dramas, in real life DNA is not fool-proof in establishing the identity of the person who committed the crime; it is subject to misuse, abuse and is not always clear-cut.
|The U.S. Government has a history of testing bioweapons and other nasty things on unsuspecting civilians, and the "DNA collection creep" is a very unsettling trend. Armed with the DNA of citizens, there is no telling what horrors they will wreak.|
The Justice Department has published a new rule that will take effect January 9, 2009, that “dramatically expands a federal law enforcement database of genetic identifiers” to include illegal aliens detained and all people arrested for a federal crime.
DNA collection has been widely abused around the US already. Motorists in Colorado were infuriated by requests for DNA samples at a highway checkpoint in 2007. Five separate checkpoints were set up over the weekend, for the purpose of conducting “surveys” regarding drug or alcohol use and DNA collection for the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation. Some were not aware that the DNA collection was voluntary and one couple, even after declining repeatedly, were offered $100 for their DNA.
In that same year, a plan to require rank-and-file police officers to give DNA samples drew howls of protest. Officers were concerned that their DNA could be abused by an especially crafty criminal collecting a cigarette butt and implicating the officer in a crime.
While the American government continually expands situations in which they take DNA samples, the European Court of Human Rights has just “unanimously ruled that a British policy to collect fingerprints and DNA of all criminal suspects, including those later deemed innocent, violated privacy rights.”
As we reported earlier, on May 2 of this year, the president signed a bill to collect DNA from every newborn. Two of the more disturbing aspects of this law allow the government to establish protocols for the linking and sharing of genetic test results nationwide, and subject citizens to genetic research without their knowledge or consent.
Minnesota’s law allows the collection of newborns at birth. “Children grow up. Eventually, every citizen will have their DNA owned by state government and available for government to engage in genetic research, experimentation, manipulation, and profiling,” said Twila Brase, president of the Citizens’ Council on Health Car. “What good is the state genetic privacy law if government warehousing and analysis of every child’s DNA from birth is exempt from its informed consent protections?” If parents don’t request the sample be destroyed, it is kept indefinitely (.pdf).
The U.S. Government has a history of testing bioweapons and other nasty things on unsuspecting civilians, and the “DNA collection creep” is a very unsettling trend. Armed with the DNA of citizens, there is no telling what horrors they will wreak.