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Federal Agencies To Collect Genetic Info 428

Posted by Zonk
from the like-collecting-stamps-only-rude dept.
protagoras writes "According to a bill approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, suspects arrested or detained by federal authorities may have their DNA forcibly collected for permanent storage in a central database. The bill is supported by the White House as well, but has not yet gone to the floor for a vote. Current law permits this only for those convicted of a crime. So even though completely innocent, should the Feds decide to detain you for any reason, your genetic data will grace their database beside that from murders, terrorists, and other miscreants." From the article: "The provision, co-sponsored by Kyl and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), does not require the government to automatically remove the DNA data of people who are never convicted. Instead, those arrested or detained would have to petition to have their information removed from the database after their cases were resolved. Privacy advocates are especially concerned about possible abuses such as profiling based on genetic characteristics."
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Federal Agencies To Collect Genetic Info

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  • At it again (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 25, 2005 @05:30PM (#13646423)
    Republicans at it again, always touting "smaller government" while doing the exact opposite...

    pathetic...

    Cheers,
    J
    • Re:At it again (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jonfelder (669529) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @05:51PM (#13646547)
      The current government is -not- Republican. Just so you know, I'm not either.

      They are neo-cons. Republican's are traditionally small government, and pro states rights. The current administration is anything but. There are many true republicans out there that dislike the current government just as much as liberals do.
      • It's for small government if it has anything to do with helping the disadvantaged. They have to get dragged kicking and screaming into it (tsunami, katrina aid, for instance, privatizing social security).

      • I'm only 26, but generally agree with the traditional Republican ideas. One might label me as a moderate conservative. I'll keep voting for democrats until the republicans wake up.
      • Re:At it again (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Schemat1c (464768)
        Republican's are traditionally small government, and pro states rights.

        Yes just look at the first Republican president, Lincoln. He was all for small central government and states rights.

        Oh, wait...
        • Re:At it again (Score:3, Informative)

          by Stalyn (662)
          The Democratic Party's endorsement of the Civil Rights Movement caused many white southerners to move to the Republican Party. They brought along with them their ideas about small government and states' rights. The Republican party as it is now is really the old southern Democratic party. Also I'd like to mention there is some debate over whether or not Lincoln was gay. Which I find hilarious when you compare that notion to the Republican's stance on gays.
      • You just keep drinking that Kool-Aid and see where it gets you. The old "small-government and states rights" platform republicans love to tout has always been a load of bullshit. From Lincoln to Nixon to Reagan to the Bushes, the Republicans have touted those ideals and then sold the voters out to big government ideals.
    • Re:At it again (Score:5, Informative)

      by van der Rohe (460708) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @05:57PM (#13646578)
      Parent is correct in principle, of course. But it's important to understand that the Republican notions of "smaller government" and "freedom" only have to do with government's relationship with BUSINESS, not with individuals.

      "Smaller government" means "less market intervention" and "freedom" only refers to freedom to earn.

      Someone's going to mark this as flamebait or troll, but it's not a value judgement. It's just the way things are. In fact, once this is clear you realize that there's nothing contradictory or hypocritical about the Right's message at all.
      • " 'Smaller government' means 'less market intervention' and 'freedom' only refers to freedom to earn.

        It's just the way things are. In fact, once this is clear you realize that there's nothing contradictory or hypocritical about the Right's message at all." ...provided everyone defines freedom and smaller government in the way you just did.

        Most do NOT define it that way.
        • Re:At it again (Score:4, Insightful)

          by van der Rohe (460708) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @06:19PM (#13646711)
          Of course, and I don't either. But if you can see it through the eyes of the Right, you'll realize why they can talk all that "freedom" talk without looking like they're lying - because they're NOT lying.

          It's not about you and me. It's about GM and Microsoft.
      • "Smaller government" means "less market intervention" and "freedom" only refers to freedom to earn. Someone's going to mark this as flamebait or troll, but it's not a value judgement. It's just the way things are. In fact, once this is clear you realize that there's nothing contradictory or hypocritical about the Right's message at all.

        That's exactly what's contradictory about it. They don't say "less market intervention" and "freedom to earn," they say "smaller government" and "freedom." Saying one thin
        • They don't say "less market intervention" and "freedom to earn," they say "smaller government" and "freedom." Saying one thing while doing another is the very definition of hypocrisy.

          Of course it's hypocritical. But if that's really the world view you hold, then you can't really come out and say that. Who's going to go along? You lose the entire flyover/hick voter base, and you're left with nothing except the predatory millionaire class.

          It's not blatantly lying - it's just using potent, ambiguous words b
  • Ha! (Score:5, Funny)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @05:31PM (#13646424)
    To all those ostrich-human hybrids who have ever said, "But ... this is America, it could never happen here!" I say, "PHOOEY!"

    Gattaca, here we come.
    • Re:Ha! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Cally (10873)
      This will probably be modded flamebait, and it will probably deserve it here - which is unfortunate, because it's intended seriously.

      This is addressed to those Americans who defend the right to bear arms partly on the grounds that it gives the people the right to rise up and overthrow the government if it becomes oppressive or undemocratic. (I recognise there are other arguments, but I'm thinking specifically of this one.) Now it seems to be (a self-confessed liberal - capital L - Brit) that for many of t

      • Re:Ha! (Score:2, Interesting)

        by uncqual (836337)
        (I can only imagine what NRA types would have said if this had happened under Clinton!)

        Actually, I suspect that a lot of "NRA types" (since you use the term "types" rather than "members", it's impossible to identify what group you speak of) are very much against this - regardless of who is POTUS. In my unscientific sample group, there is something of a libertarian bent among many active NRA members - esp. those who are not also from a law enforcement background.

        So, which is it? A harmless but essential

        • Re:Ha! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by fyngyrz (762201) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @08:41PM (#13647382) Homepage Journal
          From a logical standpoint, this DNA initiative is really no different than keeping the fingerprints of those who are detained but not convicted and I've heard little outcry about this

          No. Fingerprints let someone know who you are. They can also correlate your physical presence at a scene. No more than that. And the system can be gamed.

          A DNA sample potentially lets the holder know how smart you are, what diseases you're prone to, what genetic faults are inevitable, what kind of children you can have, exactly what race(s) you are, what poisons will work best on you, ditto what biologicals will work best on you, what color your eyes are, how strong your bones can get, how your nerves, airways and musculature form... in short, DNA lets the government know way too much. The reason I am convinced that it is way too much is that the government has proven that it will mismanage and break promises about data we allow it to handle. From social security numbers to tax records to the witness protection program, government FUBAR is evident at every turn. It goes beyond the government as well. Because in the final analysis, the government is made of people and most people have a price beyond which they will bend the rules. By extension, if the government has a database that has your DNA in it, you can be darned certain that database will end up (for instance) in the insurance companies hands.

          Gaming... entirely possible. Someone gets a sample of your (whatever) and plants it at a crime scene. Now because DNA mismatch is extremely unlikely, you are a major suspect. Sadly, you have no alibi (you didn't know you'd need one and you were out driving around in the rain that night.) Guess what's going to happen to you?

          You really think the government will never do anything you won't like with your DNA if you let them have it? I don't have that level of confidence, sorry.

    • Re:Ha! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Shaper_pmp (825142)
      Indeed. Here in the UK we've got the government trying to push us into national ID cards, and the police granted permission by the courts to retain 3 million "innocent" DNA samples taken during investigations and, completely illegally, not destroyed when the donors were proven innocent. We've also followed the US into two wars, and massively increased our risk of terrorist threats. We have so many CCTV cameras in major cities that on average you're photographed every ten seconds.

      In the US you've got an u
  • by null etc. (524767) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @05:31PM (#13646429)
    ...because of the FBI's recently-announced task force to crack down on "deviant" porn on the Internet. Should you be detained or arrested for such a crime, even if not found guilty, your DNA would be tied on-file to the sexual preferences which caused you to get busted.
    • by CyricZ (887944) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @05:35PM (#13646460)
      I'm not sure if you're an American or not, but if you are, what are you planning to do about this? I mean, at least you're aware of this situation now. That's probably a step ahead of most Americans. But are there any Americans who are actually willing to do something serious about this? And by "serious" I mean not just posting messages of displeasure on various Internet forums or blogs.

      • Like a good American he will fully comply with his government's new policy. I mean who would oppose such a measure? By cataloguing those who may be interested in pornography you create a database of potential future offenders - and would you oppose a measure that could protect so many children in the future?
        • Like a good American he will fully comply with his government's new policy. I mean who would oppose such a measure? By cataloguing those who may be interested in pornography you create a database of potential future offenders - and would you oppose a measure that could protect so many children in the future?

          Banning smoking in public places would protect children, but plenty of people oppose that. It's a trade-off between crime-prevention and (in this case) privacy. Some people will oppose it, it's just

      • What would you suggest we do?
        • Exactly...what do we do? We vote, but as I voted in the last election, the guy I was voting against still won. OK...now what? I've written to both my congressmen and senators about topics like the National ID and things like this...they write back to me with a form letter stating that they too are concerned, yet they never say one way or another if they're for or against anything. Which leads us back to the voting booth which has lead no where in the past.

          So what would you suggest we do? Take up arms agains
        • Stop voting for Democrats and Republicans, for starters. Honestly though, I don't see how this is so bad. It's not good, but I don't really see how the government having your DNA is a bad thing. I've given the IRS my fingerprints. How much worse is DNA? What is the potential harm?
  • by CyricZ (887944) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @05:32PM (#13646434)
    Indeed, this further shows how anti-conservative the Republican Party has become. True conservatives would never support legislation that intrudes so terribly into the lives of innocent citizens. It's against the very ideals that a real conservative holds.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 25, 2005 @05:35PM (#13646456)
      That's ok this will get overturned. Religious conservatives do not believe in the existance of DNA, or microbes, for that matter.
    • Indeed, this further shows how anti-conservative the Republican Party has become. True conservatives would never support legislation that intrudes so terribly into the lives of innocent citizens. It's against the very ideals that a real conservative holds.

      Yep, but that didn't get many Republicans elected, did it?

      Face it. "The people" want the largest possible central government to solve all their problems.

      Just reflect on the cries that went up after Katrina. The people want a dictator to come in and take ca

    • I think youre confusing conservativism with libertarianism. Seems to me that all consevatives in recent memory (except maybe Ragan) have been about restricting rights.
    • Indeed. I actually got to speak to a real conservative once ... right before he was dragged off by the FBI's Deviant Control Division to have his his DNA sample taken. Apparently, someone had left a picture of a nude Michael Jackson on his hard drive.

      Seriously, in the past decade or so I've been seeing less and less difference between the two parties. Oh sure ... they make lip noises about "being the Party of the People" or "wanting to lower taxes because we're the real Party of the People" but all I see
      • I am a registered republican who is a fiscal conservative / social liberal but, unfortunately G.W. Bush seems to be a fiscal liberal / social conservative. That is just the opposite of what I am. I really don't care much about all the religious right anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, conservative court nominees stuff one way or the other. For decades, my main concern as a voter has been to control government spending, balance the budget and to have strong states rights and to do as much at the state and


    • It's not the Republicans to blame for this crap, it's the neo-cons masquerading as Republicans. Check out http://www.newamericancentury.org/ [newamericancentury.org] . That should give people some idea as to why things are happening the way they are.
      • It's not the Republicans to blame for this crap, it's the neo-cons masquerading as Republicans.

        Whatever...it's the rank & file Republicans who helped vote those assholes into power, all in the name of party loyalty. They don't get a pass by claiming that the people they voted into office "aren't real Republicans".

  • Excellent (Score:4, Funny)

    by Solr_Flare (844465) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @05:33PM (#13646442)
    Now, if arrested I can attempt a wild, crazed escape and know that if I am killed in the attempt my clone can stand trial for me instead.
  • by Malor (3658) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @05:33PM (#13646444) Journal
    It's like bar codes on your forehead, without the pesky tattoo.

    This is the ultimate surveillance tool. It trumps all other forms of ID.
    • How many times do we have to Fscking say it!

      Shit like this should be OPT IN.

      Nobody should have to petition shit to get their genetic info removed.

      All the assholes who say shit like "If i didn't do anything wrong, what do i have to be afraid of?" can go ahead and have their genes saved by the Feds

      Come on, if you went up to one of those guys in the street and asked him if you could take a swab for inclusion in a Federal Crime Database you'd get told to back off.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 25, 2005 @05:34PM (#13646450)

    Imagine if Hitler had this capability, now substitute the word "Jews" for any other ethnic minority/oppressed/handicapped people and see how chilling a database like this could be used, but we all know that Hitler and his ideas was just a one off and those kinds of ideas couldnt happen here right ?, right ?

    where exactly is America heading ?

    • Well unless he could find some easily identifiable gene that is common to and unique to Jews (or whatever minority he feels like getting rid of), it wouldn't be of any help. Genetics don't work the way you apparently think they do.

      Imagine how much more powerful Hitler could be if he had digital computers or a space program or an interconnected network of computers on which he could spread his propoganda. Should we ban all of those technologies? Any technology can be misused, that doesn't mean we should

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 25, 2005 @05:35PM (#13646455)
    I would suspect the government already has large percentages of the population's DNA/prints on file, they just can't legally use them for prosecution.
    If this is the case, a law such as this being passed might give law-enforcement agencies a precedent to be able to access this larger hypothetical already-collected database of information straight away.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 25, 2005 @05:35PM (#13646462)
    Check out this URL for some of the history of genetic and racial classification in America. This data is the health insurance companies wet dream. They want to be able to deny coverage based on your genetis background. So, for example, if you had an uncle who got cancer, or a parent who had a predisposition to a disease, you could become unemployable..

    See http://waragainsttheweak.com/articles.php [waragainsttheweak.com], especially the article in Reform Judaism about this 'new kind of selection'.

    This is the real reason behind the big push for medical IT, and its vert scary.

    For profit health insurance and medical IT are not compatible..
  • Makes sense. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RyanFenton (230700) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @05:36PM (#13646463)
    Since they're "detaining" people without charging them with crimes now on a fairly large scale, in cases where they don't want to be forced to show their evidence in a public setting, they'd need this loophole to track people who they feel they unfairly have to release for what they feel are political reasons. Seems a consistant, if highly corrupted logic.

    Reminds me of the British legal tradition of jailing people without any right to a speedy trial. Seems like we created a constitution in order to get away from that kind of thing.

    Ryan Fenton
    • Re:Makes sense. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by timeOday (582209)
      A Consti-what?

      Really, I have almost given up on the idea that words on paper have meaning. Today's govt. is so vastly different from even 100 years ago, all with scarcely any alteration to the document that is supposedly its charter.

  • Great (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 25, 2005 @05:36PM (#13646465)
    If 1,000,000 different agencies each want a 100 mg sample from me, what does that leave me with?
  • by bani (467531) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @05:43PM (#13646504)
    if the feds really want the right to forcibly collect dna evidence, then the feds should be forcibly prohibited from blocking admission of defense dna evidence in trials.
    • "then the feds should be forcibly prohibited from blocking admission of defense dna evidence in trials."

      Yes they should. When has a federal court ever upheld a request from the federal goverment to block DNA evidence from the defense?

  • So? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nwbvt (768631) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @05:43PM (#13646505)
    How is this different from them collecting fingerprints?

    Oh yeah, genetics is a scary new technology whose very mention raises irrational fears.

    Sure, this database could be used to intrude on someone's medical conditions. But then again, if some agent of the federal government were inclined to violate the rules governing the use of the database, what would be stopping him from following you around and collecting a sample of your saliva from a soda can or blood from a bandage? Unless you are like the guy from Gattaca and make sure you clean everything you touch...

    • Fingerprints have never been proven to be unique to every human. It's just assumed that they are. DNA, short of twins, IS unique to every human.
      • Re:So? (Score:3, Informative)

        by nwbvt (768631)
        No, its perfectly possible (though highly unlikely) for two non-twins to have DNA that tests to be identical (remember we are not comparing the stands nucleotide to nucleotide). Just like with fingerprints.

        Anyways, all you are saying is that it is a more accurate test. Why should that make it worse?

    • Re:So? (Score:2, Interesting)

      The difference is that finger prints are much like a serial number. The identify and differentiate who a person is amongst billions. DNA, on the other hand serves as much, much more then just a serial-number like ID. It is a means to a vast, vast amount of medical information, information on one's family, even one's future children.

      Sure, they could collect samples from a saliva sample or band-aid, but this is a congressional-approved, legal database, and having a database allows comprehensive DNA testing ea
      • Re:So? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by nwbvt (768631)
        And people wouldn't take notice if someone is making lots of unauthorized requests to access someone's DNA from the database?

        I'm not suggesting we sequence the DNA of the entire nation and make that information available for anyone to download, rather have a protected, access restricted database used solely for crime prevention. In fact, they probably don't even have to store the tissue sample in the first place, just the results of some standardized tests. That would probably be much cheaper and easier

      • So it's Stupid (Score:3, Interesting)

        by BioCS.Nerd (847372)
        I'd like to point out that this database would likely not contain one's whole genome as it would be unnecessary given the vast majority of our genomes are "junk DNA". This database would likely contain expressed sequence tags (ESTs) as the genomic fingerprint in question. With sequences are short as this the amount of medical information you can extract about someone is pretty small, if at all.

        That said, I think this is a very bad idea. While today we may use ESTs as genomic finger prints, perhaps tomorr
    • Re:So? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by necro81 (917438)
      I am not saying that the notion of a government DNA database doesn't scare the crap out of me, but the "So?" poster has a decent point. If I am picked up on suspicion of any crime, or ask for a gun permit, or any number of other licenses, I must submit my fingerprints - I don't need to be convicted of a crime first. Those fingerprint records are entered into a national database along with with terrorists, murderers, and petty criminals.

      Let us not forget that, if someone is picked up for some petty crim
      • Re:So? (Score:3, Interesting)

        One cannot tell, from looking at a fingerprint, the owner's gender, age, race, etc.

        Well, I don't see how DNA is going to tell you anything about a person's age, but a person's race and gender can generally be figured out just by looking at the person. And in fact, the government already has a database of this for every single person in the US in the census records (well, personally I wrote "human" as my race but most people probably didn't do that).

        When one has a DNA sample of someone, one can run it

    • by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @06:10PM (#13646661) Homepage Journal
      The issue is not that they are collecting DNA, its that they are retaining *any* identifying information of people that are innocent of any crime.

      DNA is just the most concrete form of ID we know of.
    • Re:So? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by martinX (672498)

      Thankyou, parent poster.

      DNA - oooohhhh scary.

      In case no-one RTFA, the database is storing the DNA fingerprint as data, not the entire sample. If you don't know what that means, or if you think that DNA fingerprint data can be reverse engineered into an entire genome, please read up on it before replying.

      Anyway, even if they did keep the whole thing, here's what they can't do with your DNA sample:

      1. Track you. OK, you can be tracked if the Man wants to follow you with a swab just like in CSI, but since h
  • What if, rather than just people detained, it were all people either at birth or when they get a license or something? Would that make it better? Then we aren't discriminating against innocent people who just happened to have some bad luck and rather just creating a database that can identify all Americans.

    Would this be a little better? Quell all your complaints? Be worse? No difference? I'm curious.
  • Meh (Score:5, Informative)

    by lxt (724570) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @05:46PM (#13646517) Journal
    Here in Britain, police already have powers to retain DNA of those who are innocent - there was a court case in the Lords a few years ago, where the police had retained the DNA of an 11 year boy accused (and found innocent) of a crime, which led to a 4-1 ruling in favour of the police keeping the samples. For example, sometimes in Britain the police will have a mass dna swab session, where they test say a large number of males in a town. The police can then keep the samples, and use them to link anyone who went on to commit a crime.

    Yes, you could refuse to give a sample, but if the police really wanted to obtain your DNA samples they'd just obtain a search warrant for your house, and attempt to collect it from hair/nails etc.
    • Re:Meh (Score:3, Funny)

      by Wilson_6500 (896824)
      Yes, you could refuse to give a sample, but if the police really wanted to obtain your DNA samples they'd just obtain a search warrant for your house, and attempt to collect it from hair/nails etc.

      Whew. That's creepy. Here come the police: they're searching your house, not for duck porn or drugs or guns, but for your SKIN. That would seriously make me feel like some creepy stalker, if I were a cop and had to visit some guy's house just to swab his toilet seat for a sample of his ass.
  • by Richthofen80 (412488) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @05:47PM (#13646523) Homepage
    So, the reason Federal Law Enforcement Agencies want this is because often times crime scences contain a fair amount of DNA evidence. They can quickly eliminate suspects if they know their DNA does not match.

    I'm surprised at all the uproar over this. If you are arrested, but later cleared, your fingerprints are still kept. When is the last time your local police station returned your fingerprint card?

    I have been arrested and later the charges were dropped. I didn't get my fingerprints back, and I'm pretty sure they could be in a municipal or state database. Fingerprints, like DNA, are unique. Its essentially the same thing.

    I found the best way to avoid false incrimination is to not leave my DNA at crime scenes.
  • Well, you know _somebody's_ going to say it.

    Not surprising. Heck, I'm not so sure this is even a Neocon issue. I could have seen Clinton and Gore signing on. It's that exhilarating smell of fascism in its springtime everywhere.
  • ...if this passes the House and the Senate, we're all really, really screwed. Let's hope this is one of those things that the Senate Judiciary Comittee does to scare us all so that their real plans don't look so evil.

    ...not that that's good either.
  • Next step (Score:5, Interesting)

    by greg_barton (5551) <greg_barton&yahoo,com> on Sunday September 25, 2005 @05:48PM (#13646535) Homepage Journal
    The next step is to redefine "detention."

    When the TSA pulls you over for a search at airport security, is that a detention? When a police officer stops you for speeding, and leaving before he's done writing you a ticket would be illegal, is that a detention? When authorities stop you in the subway because you fit s certain profile, is that a detention?

    Maybe not now, but it's the next step.
  • passed in California (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ggwood (70369) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @05:54PM (#13646557) Homepage Journal
    In my home state, our electorate voted in favor of our state proposition 69 by about 62%. Prop 69 allowed the (mandatory) collection of DNA samples from accused felons. Note: these people have not been convicted. There was some debate as to how easy it would be (and, since we voted for it, how easy it now is) to have such DNA information expunged from the database if one were to be found innocent. As I recall, there would be a hearing before a judge. This is kind of crazy, right? Why isn't it automatic?
  • This is an excellent neoconservative method for King George
    to remedy that pesky budget problem he has created
    since his appointment by the Supreme Court.
    Insurance companies will pay a fortune for this data.
    Marketing and sales of the DNA data can be subcontracted
    to a deserving large donor/contractor like Halliburton.
    Large data-centric corporations can bid on the data
    with off-the-books donations to the Republican Party.
    If only we could identify and track the DNA coding for
    liberalism, populist tendencies, hones
  • Why is this under "your rights online"? It may have to do with people's rights (not mine, I'm Canadian) but definitly not online rights. Sure, the data is stored in a database, but that database isn't necessarily online (and a database with that sort of info I'd expect would not be online). Editors sure need to make sure their heads are on straight...
    • Why is this under "your rights online"? It may have to do with people's rights (not mine, I'm Canadian) but definitly not online rights. Sure, the data is stored in a database, but that database isn't necessarily online (and a database with that sort of info I'd expect would not be online). Editors sure need to make sure their heads are on straight...

      I can't presume to speak for the editors, but as a Canadian you may not realize that this is exactly the sort of database that Americans would expect to be o

  • From the governments point of view.

    Step 1. Detain suspect.
    Step 2. Obtain DNA.
    Step 3. Sell DNA to private companies for various research
    Step 4. Profit!!

    From private companies point of view.

    Step 1. Obtain ultra cheap source of DNA.
    Step 2. Patent private citizens DNA sequences.
    Step 3. Profit!!

    From Joe averages point of view.

    Step 1. Get arrested, detained and have DNA sample taken.
    Step 2. Be released without charge.
    Step 3. Have results of own DNA sold back to self.
    Step 4. ???
    Step 5. Profit.

    God bless capitalizm. So much better than all that capitalism rubbish with its silly respect for people and all that rubbish.
    • Big Central Government forcibly collecting and retaining information on people for the "public good" and "collective security" is not Capitalism. It is Socialism. It is a centralized state putting the needs of the state (and hence, "the people", in socialist theory) above the "luxury" of privacy of the individual. Privacy is a false bourgeoisie concept, meaningless to the revolutionary proletariat.

      Not only is this plan a socialist idea, it is textbook socialism straight out of the mind of Marx. The only thi
  • Pennies (Score:5, Funny)

    by kevin_conaway (585204) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @05:59PM (#13646591) Homepage
    Bah, anyone knows that if you've ever handled a penny, the governments got your DNA. Why do you think they keep them in circulation?
    • That's why I melt down all the pennies people give me and mint my own commemorative collector's coins (not valid tender anywhere). If the government wants my DNA, they can buy my coins like everyone else.
  • How many more rights would you give up in name of a so called security?

    Fear is the new opium.

  • nano-bio-tech that can alter DNA markers, or leave some sort of trace in your body to make your DNA "fingerprint" be different... and viola, we have almost every really bad scifi movies coming to fruition!

    I wouldn't surprise me if they can already tell North Americans by their DNA because years of eating fast food has altered DNA....
  • Simply 'detained'? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @06:05PM (#13646627) Homepage Journal
    If the records are not purged after you are released without being charged ( or charges are dismissed at court ) then there is some major privacy issues that I'm sure the ACLU could get its teeth into.

    Next it will be 'everyone that is born, just in case'.
  • by timmarhy (659436) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @06:09PM (#13646651)
    america really is on a slow boat to hell. lets take a look at the stats shall we? 1. the world hates you 2. your government is setting up gestapo style agencies 3. you RE ELECTED BUSH
  • I think people are against this for a simple reason:
    National fingerprint databases are seen as 'ok' due to the fact that fingerprints are useless beyond simple identification. A fingerprint can be compared against another for a match, and that is it, the print contains no other information.
    DNA, on the other hand, has substantially more information embedded in it than a fingerprint. Moreover, DNA technology is still evolving. Who knows what we can learn about a person from their DNA in 5 or 10 years. The pos
  • by OSXCPA (805476) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @06:55PM (#13646899) Journal
    Remember, what we worry about is abuse of said information. So, I get my DNA sampled and stored. I am worried that:

    1. The government will sanction me in some way (deny medicaid benefits, etc.) based on my profile.
    2. Private sector actors (insurance carriers, hospitals) sanction me in some way based on the data (deny coverage, raise fees).
    3. Illegal use is made of my information by some 'other' party - the American Nazi Party starts a 'hate list' of genetically inferior people based on their analysis of the data.
    4. Unforseen other use.

    For #1-3 above, it is perfectly possible to protect the use of the information by enforcing a prohibition on abuse. For example, If an insurance company has better information about their clients, they can better hedge their risk. With enough valid data, it is possible to hedge virtually any risk to within reasonable tolerances - Wall Street does it all the time. Better hedging = less risk to the insurer, so they can actually adjust their cost/coverage better. Enforce a certain "risk profile" to be allowed to serve as an insurance provider - i.e., make it illegal and civilly actionable to refuse coverage, and everyone wins. An insurance carrier is "stuck" with providing coverage to higher-risk clients, but known risks can be hedged. They already do this sort of thing by pooling customers - young, healthy people and older, sick people offset one another, so overall, the risk is lower - everyone get some coverage, with the healthy subsidizing the sick. That's how it's supposed to work. Better information (DNA) leads to better hedging.

    So, you set up the laws such that information is available, may be used for analysis, but if it is used against you, you have a solid legal foundation for a lawsuit, with HUGE fines for violators.

    As far as the police use of DNA goes - I live in Illinois, where we have the death penalty, but it is so broken that we've had several people on death row exonerated after their cases were reviewed and DNA evidence was admitted. There is also evidence we may have actually executed innocent people - the state doesn't re-open cases where the convict has already been executed. Frankly, mass DNA testing would not only solve a lot of crimes, but prevent gross miscarriages of justice. More data would mean better prosecutions.

    Not just that, but if a person has a genetic predisposition towards, say, Alzheimers, a public database of DNA could be used by researchers to find the prevalance of that gene or gene-sequence in the population and thereby plan for future medical treatments, allocate research resources and maybe even warn the poor, unsuspecting SOB before s/he starts losing mental function.

    Of course, someone out there will come up with a "yah, but the secret-government agency who REALLY runs America will use your profile for Bad Things..." If they start rounding people up based on DNA, it's an obvious abuse, and only a Tinfoil Hat would actually think that is anything close to likely - heck, The Economist reports that Guantanamo is shipping prisoners back to their countries of origin because of the uproar - in the US and from abroad - over the abuses there. The administration might (will) do unethical things, but they will pay at election time. As long as the framework is open and transparent, there is reasonable protection afforded to the public.

    Yah, I know, you can't always trust the public, we re-elected W, but NOT BY MUCH, and he's on a much shorter leash - see above Economist citation.

    And lets face it, if the government wanted a 'secret DNA database', they could already have it and we couldn't do bupkus.

    So what exactly is so holy about our DNA that it shouldn't be on file? Unitl I am actually deprived of life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness, how are my rights being violated exactly?
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @08:51PM (#13647428) Homepage
    Anyone in the military already has their DNA on file, this is extending it to anyone suspected of a crime.

    And somewhere a police chief is going to get it in his head that everyone in a certain building at a certain time is a suspect, or anyone passing a check point somewhere. You were in the shopping mall last Friday? You're a suspect.

    The Republican controlled Congress and White House has done more to undermine human rights and civil rights than any other American leaders in history. Trying to turn this country into a nation of christian hall monitors.

    Kids today are growing up being used to having their backpacks and lockers searched, drug tested to play sports or be in band, I don't think they're going to see anything wrong with this. They're used to not having any privacy. It's just like a frog in a pan of water. Turn the heat up gradually and they'll boil alive. Imagine what the next generation will be able to get away with? They've grown up never knowing privacy, so why would they value it?

    Not only am I going to keep voting for people of either party with a brain but I'm going to break down and get involved. At least run for something. State, county...something. We have to get our country back from the retards running it now.

  • by Alain Williams (2972) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Monday September 26, 2005 @02:21AM (#13648694) Homepage
    Typically, DNA is taken from suspects via a swab of saliva. A DNA "profile" -- or unique numeric signature -- is generated, which can be stored without including private genetic information.

    There is a mistaken belief that a DNA test will uniquely identify someone, that is not true. The technology is a sampling one, it does not compare everything in someone's DNA against the test DNA. The main value is in excluding people who cannot match the DNA profile.

    The public belief is that these tests are 100% accurate and that when the police scientist says it is a match then it is an absolute match.

    Fingerprints have similar problems, see this [newscientist.com] article.

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)

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