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Washington State Wants DNA From All Arrestees 570

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-feel-safer-already dept.
An anonymous reader writes in to say that "Suspects arrested in cases as minor as shoplifting would have to give a DNA sample before they are even charged with a crime if a controversial proposal is approved by the Legislature. "It is good technology. It solves crimes," claims Don Pierce, executive director of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. Under the bill, authorities would supposedly destroy samples and DNA profiles from people who weren't charged, were found not guilty or whose convictions were overturned. Others believe that this is just another step in the process to build a national DNA database with everyone in it."
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Washington State Wants DNA From All Arrestees

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  • by muellerr1 (868578) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:06PM (#26739625) Homepage

    Under the bill, authorities would supposedly destroy samples and DNA profiles from people who weren't charged, were found not guilty or whose convictions were overturned.

    Allow me to be the first to say, "Yeah, right."

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by BadAnalogyGuy (945258)

      They fingerprint kids in elementary school.

      This is just a more efficient implementation of that.

      There really isn't anything wrong with the practice, any more so than putting a police station every mile or two.

      • by Mr. Slippery (47854) <tms.infamous@net> on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:28PM (#26740095) Homepage

        They fingerprint kids in elementary school.

        Citation, please. I've heard of schools setting up programs where kids can be fingerprinted if the parents wish, but none where it is mandatory.

        There really isn't anything wrong with the practice

        There is everything wrong with a government that thinks it is entitled to take flesh - no matter how small the amount - from its citizens.

        The sovereignty of the state ends at my surface of skin. That's a boundary I am willing to protect with force if necessary.

        • by CodeBuster (516420) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @02:06PM (#26740889)
          I distinctly remember being fingerprinted in primary school when I was nine years old. If I had known then what I know now then I would have refused, of course, but how can a nine year old be expected to fully appreciate the possible consequences? The answer is they cannot and the state takes advantage of that to trick them while they are still young and impressionable with all sorts of propaganda, indoctrination, and anti-drug scare mongering (and now extreme environmental, but that hadn't caught on yet when I was going through the system). I have a real problem with lying to children in order to "scare them for their own good". Eventually children figure out that their parents, the police, or the authorities have lied to them consistently and never blindly trust authority again (which is itself a valuable lesson, but one which can be learned without the pain of betrayal).
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by furby076 (1461805)
          You get finger/foot printed at birth. The FBI recommends it. Not sure if it is mandated by law, but it could be on a state/local level - if not on a fed level. Great if your kid gets kidnapped.

          As long as the police are not giving this to my insurance company so they can deny me insurance then I am down for it. I don't break the law.
          • by coolsnowmen (695297) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @03:00PM (#26741817)

            If my parents get this information incase of kidnapping or identifying a body that is one thing. They can keep this private.

            If the police collect this information on me to put in their database for no reason, that is quite another.

            I don't trust people I don't know. The police collecting information about people who they don't need to is a waste of time and resources. If the police have data about me, it is data that someone can abuse. If they don't have it, then they can't.

          • by Mr. Slippery (47854) <tms.infamous@net> on Thursday February 05, 2009 @04:38PM (#26743317) Homepage

            You get finger/foot printed at birth. The FBI recommends it. Not sure if it is mandated by law, but it could be on a state/local level - if not on a fed level. Great if your kid gets kidnapped.

            This reference [aappublications.org] is over 20 years old, but at that time only New York state required footprinting for newborns. Hospitals often take footprints so they can identify babies if they get mixed up, but the efficacy is questionable. If you have a new source showing that finger- or foot-printing of newborns is required in any other state, please, present it.

            Certainly if a permanent record of an infant's fingerprints is made and given to the police or FBI, that would be a significant incentive toward home birth.

            As long as the police are not giving this to my insurance company so they can deny me insurance then I am down for it. I don't break the law.

            You never break the speed limit? Never had a beer before the age of 21? Never made love in an unsanctioned way (better check your local laws on that!)? Never made a copy of a CD for a friend? Never "forgot" to mention that $20 gift on your income tax forms?

            We all break the law.

            And the law can change tomorrow. If a law were passed that required all Americans of Iraqi ancestry to report to concentration camps tomorrow - as it did for Japanese Americans in the 1940s - I hope that you would resist it in every way that you could.

            Never, never, never, never confuse following that law with doing what's right.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by isaac (2852)

              I posted this elsewhere, but it doesn't seem to be common knowledge here (not enough slashdotters with kids):

              Every US state plus DC mandates collection of newborn's DNA to screen for genetic diseases. The exact list varies from state to state, but it always includes phenylketoneuria, galactosemia, and hypothyroidism. Some states permit parents to refuse consent on religious grounds, and two more allow objecting on any grounds. Most states specifically exempt collection of these samples from any consent requ

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by painehope (580569)

          While I agree in principle (strongly, I might add), unless you are willing to exercise your 2nd Amendment rights to their fullest (meaning you draw the line at your person and at your property line), you're pretty much fucked until you and I are not the only ones willing to do this.

          Which brings up the fundamental question that this country was allegedly founded upon - are you willing to die for your freedom?

          Once you are disarmed, alone, or in the open, the police will get you. If the locals can't stop

      • by Hork_Monkey (580728) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:30PM (#26740125)
        It's alot harder to plant fingerprints at a crime scene than it is to drop some random hair that you find (Long haired people shed worse than dogs).
      • by BCW2 (168187)
        Except that when they do the kids they take the prints in front of, and give the cards back to the parents to keep. This is only given back to the police to help find missing kids.

        Amazing that this is happening in Washington, one of the most liberal states of all. Could the left want the police state they accused Bush of trying to build?
        • by Walkingshark (711886) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:53PM (#26740621) Homepage

          The powerful want the police state. They use the left and right to control the two largest blocks of the population. They write off everyone else (libertarians, singularitians, whatever) as being too small and unimportant to bother with.

        • by An ominous Cow art (320322) * on Thursday February 05, 2009 @02:02PM (#26740807) Journal

          An organization to which I belong sponsors something called "CHIP" (Child Identification Program). Parents bring their children to be fingerprinted, have a DNA (saliva) sample taken, and a short video interview (all for no cost to them). All materials are sealed in a box and given to the parents, to be kept in case the child goes missing - then they can be given to the police. Apparently, it's made a difference a few times.

          (don't take this as any kind of opinion on how frequent children go missing, or whether the article's DNA sampling is desirable)

    • by spacerog (692065) <<ten.eugorecaps> <ta> <gorecaps>> on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:25PM (#26740021) Homepage Journal
      Yup, just like they did in Massachusetts [boston.com]

      State hits crime lab on DNA cache, Some files improperly kept, IG says
      The State Police crime laboratory is storing the DNA profiles of hundreds of people whose crimes do not warrant it, according to an investigation of the historically troubled lab, raising the specter of what one civil libertarian called a "shadow DNA database."

      - SR

      • by somenickname (1270442) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @02:21PM (#26741159)

        Speaking of crime labs, I'm sometimes forced to watch CSI: New York. I sometimes wonder if I'd rather throw myself out the window every time a cut scene of "science" is accompanied by some techno music but, I do recall an episode where there was a murder in a night club. In that episode they detained all the people in the night club and took DNA samples from them. I remember thinking, "If they tried to do that to me, I'd tell them to go fuck themselves and fight the obstruction of justice charge in court".

        Shows like this desensitize the public to things like "DNA sample" to the point where they think it's normal and that their information will be treated with care by beautiful and smart people who know a lot about "science". The truth couldn't be further from that.

    • by von_rick (944421) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:29PM (#26740113) Homepage
      The dilemma involved in balancing "security vs. freedoms". Its a very non-linear problem, and at this point it looks like freedoms are on the downward slope.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mcgrew (92797) *

        There is no dilemma nor need to balance. There is only an excuse (NOT a reason) for power grabs.

      • by jeko (179919)

        The police do not offer "security."

        One of the things the NRA and the associated gun nuts always point out is the numerous court cases -- including one involving a police officer who allowed a brutal gang rape to continue for over an hour while he hid and "waited for backup" -- that affirm the police have NO duty to protect you personally. They have an "overall" duty to promote order in society IN GENERAL, but if a cop is walking by while you're getting mugged, it would be nice if he intervened, but he doesn

    • by Jason Levine (196982) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:36PM (#26740257)

      Here's how I see it playing out:

      Step 1: They pass this law. Perhaps they "forget" to destroy the DNA samples. Perhaps they do destroy it.
      Step 2: They complain about the "destruction" requirement impeding law enforcement. A high profile case is brought up where keeping the DNA evidence would have helped solve the case quicker. (Bonus points if they can claim a life would have been saved.)
      Step 3: The law will be amended to allow police to keep the samples for as long as they deem it needed.

      It seems to be a popular method of getting 1984-style laws passed. Pass an innocuous sounding law backed by a rallying cry ("Think of the Children!" "Protect against Terrorism!"). Now, expand that law as quietly as possible until it matches your original intent.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by QuantumRiff (120817)

        Step 2 is especially effective when the victim that could have been saved is a young, blonde haired, blue eyed white girl from an upper middle class family!

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by russotto (537200)

          Step 2 is especially effective when the victim that could have been saved is a young, blonde haired, blue eyed white girl from an upper middle class family!

          Please. We live in more enlightened times. Nobody would care any less if she was dark haired and dark skinned, provided she was still as hot as e.g. Halle Berry.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Thaelon (250687)

        The best way to fight this might to be to find a way to get the DNA of senators, representatives, governors, and high ranking executives in there as quickly and as publicly as possible.

        Then see how long it sticks around.

    • by easyTree (1042254) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:41PM (#26740357)

      It makes a change. We (in the UK) exporting our stupid ideas to you...

  • by hattig (47930) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:07PM (#26739645) Journal

    "Under the bill, authorities would supposedly destroy samples and DNA profiles from people who weren't charged, were found not guilty or whose convictions were overturned."

    This is not what happens in the UK.

    So far it takes a lot of pressure to get entries deleted once you are on there, and you don't even need to be arrested to be on there.

    The European Courts have said that this is not right and that they should remove entries that don't pertain to criminals, but I don't think there is any rush.

    Too much "think of the children" and "think of the raped woman" going on for privacy and human rights to get a look in.

    Even if they did, we all know these databases are hives of incorrect data anyway.

    • by auric_dude (610172) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:13PM (#26739785)
      What happens in the UK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UK_National_DNA_Database [wikipedia.org]
  • The slippery slope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kuroji (990107) <kuroji@gmail.com> on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:07PM (#26739651)

    What happened to only getting DNA evidence from felons? This seems insane, there's no reason at all that someone ACCUSED of a misdemeanor crime should have to submit (and, most likely, pay for!) DNA samples unless it was important to the court case. If this goes through, I can only wonder what they'll be asking for next. Getting DNA from children to put into a database, like they've done with fingerprints in some places?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Yvanhoe (564877)
      Don't get so uppity, in France the proposal included to take DNA samples even of all witnesses involved in a case.
    • by zappepcs (820751) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:15PM (#26739811) Journal

      Yes, and that database amounts to illegal search of the populace for every crime when they use a database to find a match to some DNA found at a crime scene. The same goes for finger prints.

      There are arguments both ways, but in the end having a database of identifying information on huge portions of the citizenry is the same as stores checking your bag when you leave: you are guilty until proven innocent by way of not matching the evidence. This goes against the intent of the law.

      This is not a slippery slope, it's a roller coaster drop off .... but I'm not sure there is a smooth curved set of rails to stop the impending crash.

      • by brouski (827510) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:33PM (#26740179)

        Going with the "checking the bags when you leave" analogy, it's not the fact that the bags are being checked that annoys me, it's the act of having to queue at this final gatekeeper and wait for their OK before I can walk past.

        If the stores could transparently scan these bags as I walk out with RFID tags or some such, inconvenience is gone and so are my complaints.

        I don't think the act of merely having the database is the same as rifling through your stuff when you walk out the door

        • by zappepcs (820751) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:53PM (#26740617) Journal

          History has shown us that if there is a database to check the fingerprints or DNA against for a match, it will be done. This is the same thing as getting all those people to donate their DNA and fingerprints for every crime that is committed. Another way, all the people in the database are assumed to be guilty until their DNA/fingerprints are shown to not match those found at the crime scene.

          How long before a crime is committed where DNA is planted? How will law enforcement teams solve a crime when the only DNA found is that of the governor; who happens to have a solid alibi? Will they keep searching the database looking for someone that is a close match, or simply decide it was planted evidence?

          The database is worse than rifling through bags. The bag checker doesn't know who you are. The database does. The bag checker is assuming your guilty and only letting you go when you are proven innocent. The database is the same thing as police coming to your door 14 times a month to collect your DNA for use in solving a crime. Bio-identification is not secure, it is not foolproof, and it necessarily makes you guilty until proven innocent if the police have it in their database.

        • by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:59PM (#26740763) Homepage Journal

          I don't think the act of merely having the database is the same as rifling through your stuff when you walk out the door

          Your DNA is your stuff.

    • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:15PM (#26739819)

      At first I had the same reaction that many slashdotters probably had: This is way overstepping, you are assigning a penalty to even being accused of a crime (the penalty being an invasion of privacy and a chance of being falsely accused of a crime later).

      Then I thought about the fact that people are fingerprinted upon arrest, and have been for decades. When you come down to it, there really isn't any significant difference between recording fingerprints and recording DNA. If you disagree with recording DNA there's no reason why recording fingerprints before conviction should be acceptable either.

      Finally, I thought about statistics. We always here in cases how the DNA evidence shows a 99.9% chance that the person is the guilty party. The problem is when you have a few million entries in the database, 99.9% isn't all that good. You could easily end up with a half dozen people fitting the DNA evidence in a large city. DNA analysis should be the end of a good investigation, not the starting off point.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Hatta (162192)

        If you disagree with recording DNA there's no reason why recording fingerprints before conviction should be acceptable either.

        I disagree with both. I don't see how compelling someone to give you their DNA, or their fingerprints can be anything other than forcing them to testify against themselves.

        • by Seraphim_72 (622457) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:40PM (#26740339)
          I think it is Unreasonable Search for both. That it is easy to do is half of the problem. If anyone walked up to you and said 'Let me examine your hand with this magnifying glass and these chemicals' you would think them insane. My fingerprints and my DNA are my own thank you. They are part of what makes me ME. You have no right to part of me upon accusation. Conviction maybe, but not upon accusation.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by BadAnalogyGuy (945258)

        If using DNA can reduce the number of suspects to a half dozen, it's much more advantageous to use it at the outset to focus the investigation on a few matching people. Why would you waste time investigating a crime when you can isolate the suspects up front?

        • by Duradin (1261418)
          I think there's some quote by some dead guy that goes on about essential liberties and temporary safety that might answer your question.
      • by Mr. Slippery (47854) <tms.infamous@net> on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:37PM (#26740269) Homepage

        When you come down to it, there really isn't any significant difference between recording fingerprints and recording DNA.

        Of course there is - DNA collection involves the government taking a piece of my living flesh. That's a rather bright line for them to try to cross.

        Then there's the problem that DNA isn't so reliable after all [boston.com] - but then, neither are fingerprints [livescience.com].

      • by gnick (1211984) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:37PM (#26740275) Homepage

        If you disagree with recording DNA there's no reason why recording fingerprints before conviction should be acceptable either.

        I think that's taking it a little far. There are sometimes very good reasons to take prints/DNA. If you're accused of a crime and you claim that you've never been to the scene, prints or DNA could potentially (in)validate your story and effect your conviction/release.

        However, if you're caught shoplifting or even if you're accused of something more serious and admit your guilt openly, I see no reason why either should need to be taken.

      • by meleespamingzombies (1470197) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:38PM (#26740301)

        Then I thought about the fact that people are fingerprinted upon arrest, and have been for decades. When you come down to it, there really isn't any significant difference between recording fingerprints and recording DNA. If you disagree with recording DNA there's no reason why recording fingerprints before conviction should be acceptable either.

        Except DNA gives evidence about your entire bloodline. So DNA evidence from my brother could be used against me, even though I have never been introduced to the system.

      • by oneTheory (1194569) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:39PM (#26740319)
        Laws must be evaluated not primarily on the basis of what good they attempt to do but on the possible abuses they would allow. Just off the top of my head for this law: It's a lot easier to frame someone by putting some DNA evidence of them (i.e. a few strands of hair) at a crime scene than lifting their fingerprints and convincingly planting them.

        Now I'm no lawyer, but the thing about the cases mentioned in this article is that you can still get DNA from ANYONE you want with a court ordered search warrant. And I'd think that would be pretty easy if someone is arrested under suspicion of rape, burglary, etc.

        The problem with the current system is you have to go fill out paperwork, talk to a judge, all that WORK that apparently our police and detectives don't feel like doing. The current system allows for collecting DNA in a responsible fashion.

        The proponents of this bill as with every bill of this type will bring in tear soaked mothers talking about their children in order to sway you with emotion. They know that your primitive emotional response will trump your intellect basically guaranteeing you make an unreasoned decision. Not cool.
      • by Sancho (17056) * on Thursday February 05, 2009 @02:00PM (#26740777) Homepage

        If you disagree with recording DNA there's no reason why recording fingerprints before conviction should be acceptable either.

        There are a lot of reasons to be concerned.

        1) It's easier to plant DNA evidence than it is to plant fingerprints (though it's easier to recreate a fingerprint from a sample than it is to recreate DNA.)

        2) DNA gets leaked everywhere. A hair falls out? Some skin cells scrape off? Urine or feces in the toilet? Not only are samples of your DNA everywhere, but this means that thousands of people could be implicated at a crime scene.

        3) Because of (2) above, this technology can be used to track anyone in the database. That said, we may not know the path they've taken (unless we're eventually able to date DNA samples in a similar manner to radioactive dating.)

        4) (the biggie) DNA is known to change during one's lifetime. For example: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090116/hl_afp/healthaustraliageneticssugar;_ylt=At8juaZrV2AoHEmOvom1Hj4PLBIF [yahoo.com] Right now, we just don't know enough about it to guarantee a high accuracy.

        Finally, I thought about statistics. We always here in cases how the DNA evidence shows a 99.9% chance that the person is the guilty party.

        The fact that people think like this is a huge problem. Neither DNA nor fingerprints prove guilt. For non-rape cases, at best, they prove that a person was at the scene at some point in their lives. In rape cases, they can prove that the person was party to intercourse, but not whether or not it was consensual.

    • by meist3r (1061628) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:16PM (#26739859)
      Welcome to the New World Order ... where security means everyone's a suspect and constant supervision is the only way to achieve true freedom. Way to go.

      The Terrorists have already won. Being terrorized means losing to terror, suspecting everyone and subjecting them to criminal prosecution no matter what they did ... that's paranoia and being terrified right there. Terrorists Win. Let Osama bin Laden slip ... we don't need him anymore to errect our own Panopticon of terror.

      Pardon ... Highly Secure Freedom Detention Center.
    • by SirGeek (120712)

      What happened to only getting DNA evidence from felons? This seems insane, there's no reason at all that someone ACCUSED of a misdemeanor crime should have to submit (and, most likely, pay for!) DNA samples unless it was important to the court case. If this goes through, I can only wonder what they'll be asking for next. Getting DNA from children to put into a database, like they've done with fingerprints in some places?

      Next it will be, "I'm sorry, I believe you were speeding. Please give me a blood, uri

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by philspear (1142299)

      Also, when have government agencies ever restrained themselves in favor of privacy among citizens? The government in 1936 said that social security numbers were never supposed to be used for identification*...

      Oops.

      (* http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs10-ssn.htm [privacyrights.org] not a good source, so take it with a grain of salt, could be an urban myth)

      We also had a few constitutional provisions that seem to say you can't spy on innocent civilians. Hard to believe now I know. And of course the FBI wildly overstepped it's

  • Ha! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Vectronic (1221470) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:09PM (#26739711)

    I'll just laugh, and spit in their faces!... wait... damnit.

  • Does that mean they cannot charge me? Sweet.

  • What happens when someone is arrested and released later, only to have the prosecutor "sleep" on their case indefinitely? After all, it's very rare for prosecutors to send out "I've decided not to prosecute you" letters. Hell, I've seen prosecutors let people sit in DETENTION for years without a trial (one famous case in my state involved a teenage girl who was held in detention for 6 years without trial, before the prosecutor admitted he had no case and she was released). Sometimes a person is arrested and

    • by !coward (168942)

      I get what you're saying but that kind of already exists.. It's called 'Statute of Limitations' and has a limited scope (as in, in some countries a murder case never expires). If this comes into play, I don't think you'll be able to limit the admissibility of that DNA sample beneath the time limit imposed by that offense's Statute of Limitation.

      I think this is totally bogus, but if it does go forward, then we'd probably be better off limiting the scope of application of that sample. What I mean is, your DNA

      • by Muad'Dave (255648)

        You shouldn't be able to use it to check for possible matches in outstanding cases (a CLEAR violation of the presumption of innocence and would lead to a "fishing expedition"-gallore).

        You mean like they do now when they run your license for outstanding "wants and warrants", and run your fingerprints when arrested for hits in the unsolved crime database? They're already doing it; with DNA they'll be able to not only check to see if you're in the database, but whether any of your close relatives are in the

    • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:34PM (#26740195) Journal

      Hell, I've seen prosecutors let people sit in DETENTION for years without a trial (one famous case in my state involved a teenage girl who was held in detention for 6 years without trial, before the prosecutor admitted he had no case and she was released). Sometimes a person is arrested and never gets an actual trial (whether they're held in detention or released).

      We need much, much stronger laws to deal with prosecutors who commit unjust acts. If you are unjustly kidnapped and held in a cell for years, it doesn't matter to you whether your captor is the state or a psychotic madman. Both are equally traumatic, and both aggressors should be punished as harshly.

      I heard a story [npr.org] on NPR this morning about a black man who was falsely accused of rape and died in prison. The real rapist sent letters to the prosecutors admitting to the rape. Not one of the prosecutors responded to those letters. By any reasonable code of justice, every one of those prosecutors would be guilty of a crime. IMO, a crime much worse than rape.

      I don't know how to do it though. You're never going to get a prosecutor to prosecute another prosecutor for prosecuting.

    • by Nimey (114278)

      Please tell me that prosecutor served hard time for misconduct.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hairyfeet (841228)

      You just hit the nail on the head without even knowing it. The problem with these "shadow databases" is how would you KNOW that the sample was destroyed? Just like that girl they "lost" for 6 years they can just keep it in the database until they need to bust you. After all, after they used it to bust you for something in the future they could always say "Oh, that sample? We took a sample of him from a coke can." and you would have NO way of telling whether they are telling the truth or not. So unless they

  • Article IV? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by weston (16146) <westonsd@@@canncentral...org> on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:12PM (#26739761) Homepage

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects...

    If my DNA isn't part of my person, I don't know what is. If you find it at a crime scene, that's one thing, but the bar for compelling the collection of a DNA sample should be at least as high (and probably higher) than the bar for a warrant for a home search.

    • by SirGeek (120712)

      If my DNA isn't part of my person, I don't know what is. If you find it at a crime scene, that's one thing, but the bar for compelling the collection of a DNA sample should be at least as high (and probably higher) than the bar for a warrant for a home search.

      What about the 5th amendment (the right to not self incriminate) ? Isn't taking your DNA without any other proof a violation of that ? Or taking it without a court order ?

      However if they start requiring a court order, they'll just get a judge who'll

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rogerborg (306625)

      If you find it at a crime scene, that's one thing

      Uh... you are at a crime scene. You seem to be confusing a search of your person with a process that will identify your person.

      Do you believe that you retain a right to anonymity when arrested? If not, then what's your specific objection to being identified through your DNA?

  • Bump into someone in the subway, grab a few loose hairs from their sweater, drop at murder site.

    "Sir, how do you explain that we found your hair at the site of the murder?"

    -Dunno, I'm riding the subway every day.

    Mystery solved! Hurray! Oh wait ... shit.
  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:14PM (#26739795)
    of taking a DNA sample before someone is even charged? (Which is ridiculously unconstitutional, anyway.)

    I can sympathize with the pain of the woman in TFA, but that doesn't give her the right to make everyone elses' life miserable.

    If she doesn't stop this kind of preaching, she should be taken out and shot. Not really, but her kind is the biggest enemy to freedom here in the United States.

    --
    "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding." -- U.S. Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis
    --
    "Or women of zeal." -- Jane Q. Public
  • Excellent (Score:3, Insightful)

    by internerdj (1319281) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:16PM (#26739837)
    One more reason to waste taxpayer money at a time when many states are basing their budgets on a federal bailout...
  • Note that this is a proposed law in Washington State, not the whole country. Not that we should just forget about the rights of Washington's citizens, but I suspect a quite a few people will misunderstand the summary as it stands now.

    • Note that this is a proposed law in Washington State, not the whole country. Not that we should just forget about the rights of Washington's citizens, but I suspect a quite a few people will misunderstand the summary as it stands now.

      Don't delude yourself. If this gets a foothold in one place, other states will get the idea that this is something they can actually get away with. Before you know it, you have 50 states with it, and no alternative state that you can move to to boycott it.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fixing_Broken_Windows [wikipedia.org]

    simply stated, if law enforcement focuses on small, petty crimes, like turnstile jumping, graffiti, and shoplifting, they implicitly reduce serious crime, like burglarly, arson, murder

    the idea works in two ways:

    1. the public perception of lawlessness sends a signal that even worse lawless behavior is acceptable, so doping the reverse: focusing on the surface level impression of orderliness, actually increases real orderliness

    2. you would be amazed how many rapists and murders also run red lights and shoplift. that is, routine screening of petty crimes (fingerprints in the past) has actually netted a surprising number of big fish (where big fish means any criminal who committed a very serious crime). people who commit trangressive acts against society don't really seem to be able to stop doing that

    in which case, viewing the request to keep and track dna, you can simply see the evolution of police work,.where the next natural next step is to track dna, as well as fingerprints, based on the success of the broken window theory in the past

    i'm not saying that dna tracking should be supported, i'm just framing the reason why law enforcement is interested in dna. as opposed to the mindless "everyone in government wants to fascistically monitor your entire life just because they are stereotypical hollywood characters" theory of government and law enforcement, that you frequently see as the basis for comments

    • by Hordeking (1237940) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:40PM (#26740341)

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fixing_Broken_Windows [wikipedia.org]

      simply stated, if law enforcement focuses on small, petty crimes, like turnstile jumping, graffiti, and shoplifting, they implicitly reduce serious crime, like burglarly, arson, murder

      the idea works in two ways:

      1. the public perception of lawlessness sends a signal that even worse lawless behavior is acceptable, so doping the reverse: focusing on the surface level impression of orderliness, actually increases real orderliness

      No, the idea works because there is the perception of a police state.

      2. you would be amazed how many rapists and murders also run red lights and shoplift. that is, routine screening of petty crimes (fingerprints in the past) has actually netted a surprising number of big fish (where big fish means any criminal who committed a very serious crime). people who commit trangressive acts against society don't really seem to be able to stop doing that

      Remember, in 1984, Julia states "You can get away with breaking the big laws if you keep the small ones.

      i'm not saying that dna tracking should be supported, i'm just framing the reason why law enforcement is interested in dna. as opposed to the mindless "everyone in government wants to fascistically monitor your entire life just because they are stereotypical hollywood characters" theory of government and law enforcement, that you frequently see as the basis for comments

      Why don't you go ahead and submit your DNA pre-emptively. While you're at it, why don't you go ahead and get an RFID implanted in your hand? After all, if you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide, right?

      Some of us just happen to desire privacy from gov't meddling on principle. When I go somewhere, I tell my folks/girlfriend where I'm going. I don't announce it to the police or gov't. Likewise, I don't care for the thought of every time some cop investigates every pissant who happened to leave some kind of biological evidence at the scene of a crime, someone checks that against me.

    • Whatever their motives or reasoning, the outcome is still exactly equivalent to the case where "everyone in government wants to fascistically monitor your entire life". We should be making law enforcement harder, not easier.

  • by MrSteveSD (801820) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:26PM (#26740043)
    Now they even keep the DNA samples of people arrested by mistake. Fight against it. Don't give them an inch or they will take a mile. Any gains in crime fighting are dwarfed by the enormous potential for abuse. It's really paving the way for future tyranny.
  • by Zakabog (603757) <[moc.guamj] [ta] [nhoj]> on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:26PM (#26740045)

    At first I thought "No way am I going to let them take blood from me if I'm arrested!", but after reading the article all they do is swab the inside of your cheek. It really is less invasive than fingerprinting.

    I've been fingerprinted twice, once after being arrested and once after applying for a federal job. The first time was the worst, the machine couldn't read my print AT ALL, so the officer tried pressing harder. That registered a faint image of a finger print. So they gave me some gel to clean my fingers, that did nothing to help so the officer continued to press harder and harder. We finally got one print to show up after a few minutes when the officer forced all of his body weight onto my finger. ONE PRINT, then it was on to the next 9 fingers...

    Second time didn't require as much force, but we had other issues, my finger wasn't rolling right. The person operating the machine had to do each finger 5+ times to get the machine to actually accept the print.

    I know they're not going to do away with fingerprinting and replace it with DNA samples (DNA isn't a unique identifier), but they already take fingerprints and mugshots before you're found guilty. So what's the problem with taking a little bit of spit?

    • It's kind of funny how much difficulty you had with machine fingerprint scanners. I recently got fingerprinted for a security clearance and it took less than a minute total, no pain involved. The method? Ink and paper which was then scanned into the system. Sometimes the high tech solution just makes things more difficult.

  • During the 21st century, our personal liberties and civil rights have been peeled away. This is just another step toward subjecting everyone to DNA testing. Think DNA testing and DNA matching are flawless? What have you got to hide, comrade?

  • by olddotter (638430) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:27PM (#26740067) Homepage
    Maybe I watched too much CSI and "X Files". But couldn't someone build a national DNA registry by going through our trash or recycling bins?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kabocox (199019)

      Maybe I watched too much CSI and "X Files". But couldn't someone build a national DNA registry by going through our trash or recycling bins?

      Nah, too difficult. It'd be much easier to develop and give the tech for average store video cameras to ID their customers and let the stores to most of your leg work. Do you have any idea what percentage of the nation that walmart could ID with that tech? Say they tie your recording with your cash, credit, or check payment. Two out of the 3 of those will give them ID o

  • How are we supposed to determine whether or not someone can be issued a reproduction license without a national DNA database to determine the suitability of their genes? I mean, we can't allow just anyone to have children, right?

  • If this law passes, expect an increase in the enforcement of laws against loitering, public drunkenness and vagrancy. Nothing better than the enforcement of vague laws to enable a DMA fishing expedition.

  • Under the bill, authorities would supposedly destroy samples and DNA profiles from people who weren't charged, were found not guilty or whose convictions were overturned.

    They already do far less with fingerprints they gather the same way.

    Only, you CAN fake those.

    You can't fake someone's DNA.
    It is not like you can print it out or copy it to a portable media and then just sprinkle it later.

  • Baloney (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JustNiz (692889) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:37PM (#26740279)

    >> Under the bill, authorities would supposedly destroy samples and DNA profiles from people who weren't charged, were found not guilty or whose convictions were overturned.

    Baloney. If this was actually true, they would only bother to collect samples from people after they were found guilty.

  • Do you know how many places I've left my DNA?! Because I don't!

    It's only a matter of time before it would be falsely linked to a crime scene. I don't need the state to do this to protect me. My best defense against crime is my CCW. You can have my DNA sample when you pry it from my cold dead hands.

  • by rts008 (812749) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:44PM (#26740419) Journal

    Gattaca, anyone?

    It may be that in the long run, we can't totally avoid this crap, but the more we roll over and lick it up, the faster it will come to us.

    Now, what's on American Idol...Ohh...Shiny!!

  • by Arthur B. (806360) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:44PM (#26740433)

    You cannot reject IP, copyright etc and then complain if someone (yes, including the police) picks up one of your hair from the ground and gets your DNA (yes, even without your knowledge).

    There is no IP, you don't own your genome.

    • by sqrt(2) (786011)

      And why not simply make an exception for DNA? There's no reason why we can't, as a society, decide that the human genome doesn't follow the same rules as other forms of information.

  • by MarkvW (1037596) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:48PM (#26740515)

    This simply will not happen in its present form.

    If this DNA collection is legal, then it must pass muster under both STATE and FEDERAL constitutions. It may be OK under the federal constitution (where the US Supreme Court is the last word), but it will NEVER pass muster under the Washington Constitution (where the State Supreme Court has the last word). The Washington Supreme court has a strong libertarian component (I'm not exaggerating). Compelled collection from convicted felons is OK per the Wash. Supreme Court (State v. Surge, 160 Wn.2d 65), but they're not going to approve compelled collection from pretrial detainees. No way.

    It's going to take a state constitutional amendment or a recomposition of the Washington Supreme Court before DNA samples can be taken from pretrial detainees.

  • Ballot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bugs2squash (1132591) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @01:59PM (#26740769)
    Really; they will put inconsequential crap about gay marriage on a ballot, but nothing like this...

    1) Governments are incapable of keeping any record confidential. How many apologies have been issued for massive leakages of social security records (especially in Britain I believe) So you're not just giving up your DNA to the government, you have to assume that the government is simply collecting it for anyone to use.

    2) It won't be long before DNA evidence becomes discredited. There will one day be ways of beating the system, planting evidence, altering evidence etc. And the evidentiary value will diminish. So the cost/benefit that looks so good now will erode.

    3) I not only have my own interests to defend, but those of my Children. So far as I am aware, if my and my wife's DNA are collected, then my Children's DNA can be inferred.

    So in 10 years' time the record will show that I put my childrens' freedom / insurability / job prospects etc. at risk for minimal benefit and at great cost to the tax payer.

    Frame the question on a ballot in that way and see if the good people of Washington will approve it.
  • by PeeAitchPee (712652) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @02:09PM (#26740941)
    They've kept expanding whose DNA gets included despite protests from privacy advocates (and they're quite proud of that). Here's MD DNA Database's official site [goccp.org]. ALL arrestees aren't added (yet) . . . but given MD's track record of expanding this database, it's just a matter of time.
  • Welcome... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by EddyPearson (901263) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @02:45PM (#26741579) Homepage

    ...to the UK.

    We've been doing this for years. Funny to think my genetic fingerprint is stored in a DB somewhere.

    I've always thought, doesn't this constant databasing of our personal details fall under the Data Protection Act's remit? Surely I should be able to A) Request a copy of everything they have on me B) Have it removed on request.

    IANAL but I work on the assumption that nobody's above the law, and that conflicting laws are deemed unenforacable when they get shot down in court. Have I got it wrong?

  • Gattaca (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HockeyPuck (141947) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @02:50PM (#26741657)

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119177/ [imdb.com]

    The slippery slope begins... first arrests... then when you're born. Living "off the grid" will eventually equate to "being born in the woods."

  • Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gillbates (106458) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @03:56PM (#26742553) Homepage Journal

    If you don't plan to collect DNA except for cases which result in conviction, why incur the expense of taking the DNA of every arrestee in the first place? Can't you get it later?

    Or will my tax dollars be used for yet another useless activity with substantial civil liberty implications?

  • by peter303 (12292) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @06:58PM (#26745469)
    Its supposed to be used solely for death or injury ID and destroyed after separation from the Service.

How often I found where I should be going only by setting out for somewhere else. -- R. Buckminster Fuller

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