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FBI and States Vastly Expand DNA Collection, Databases 203

Mike writes "Starting this month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation will join 15 states that collect DNA samples from those awaiting trial, and will also collect DNA from detained immigrants. For example, this year, California began taking DNA upon arrest, and expects to nearly double the growth rate of its database (PDF), to 390,000 profiles a year, up from 200,000. Until now, the federal government genetically tracked only convicts, however law enforcement officials are expanding their collection of DNA to include millions of people who have only been arrested or detained, but not yet convicted. The move, intended to 'help solve more crimes,' is raising concerns about the privacy of petty offenders and people who are presumed innocent."
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FBI and States Vastly Expand DNA Collection, Databases

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  • by bargainsale ( 1038112 ) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @04:49PM (#27629839)
    The UK has a huge DNA database including large numbers of minors and people subsequently found innocent.
    The much maligned European Court is protecting our liberties by declaring this illegal: []
    Such a shame that the mother of democracies should come to this.
    Be warned by our bad example
  • by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @04:55PM (#27629905)

    Mistakes happen. If the woman in this story [] had been in that database, she'd be in prison for a crime she didn't commit.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:10PM (#27630029)

    . . . a search for a female serial killer, whose victims were in Austria, France and Germany, was ended recently, when police discovered that the DNA of the suspect belonged to a women who packaged the cotton swabs used for testing:

    So, how reliable will these databases be?

    It's a hoot and a half to read all the different crimes associated with this case, and think how all those police profilers were totally baffled by this killer.

    It won't be too funny, if a lab mix-up incriminates you.

  • by ridley4 ( 1535661 ) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:14PM (#27630059)

    Victims rights should always be more important than that of criminals, who are often scum.

    You're horribly naive. The difference between a victim and a criminal is who did what; they're still human, they're still breathing, and there's still a few slips of paper in the framework of most nations that say that rights are something called unalienable. You're born with rights and you die with rights. Such harsh punshments, not only are cruel and unusual, but also fling themselves against probability issues. What if you were wrongly convicted of (for sake of example, et cetera) murder and sentenced to 120 years of "State-endorsed labor" or some other euphism for legalized slavery of criminals and innocents-deemed-criminals, and what of the scapegoat? The victim of circumstance? Or what if it was someone you knew? And what of the precedent? If we can take away the rights of convicts, why not suspects? And who really is a suspect? I don't want to sound like I'm spreading FUD here, but that's fire and playing with fire is going to get you burned badly. I'll stick with treating criminals like they're human so I can make sure I can be treated like a human too.

  • by captnbmoore ( 911895 ) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:56PM (#27630477)
    Yes but the dna collected is by law only available to identify a body incase the tags are missing.
  • by budgenator ( 254554 ) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @08:05PM (#27631617) Journal

    They only test 13 markers on the DNA, not the whole genome, in fact 99.9% of your DNA is the same for every person. While everybody is unique genetically, they only test a small subset so the identification is statistical, what I'm waiting for is a proven false match using DNA profiling.

  • by AlexBirch ( 1137019 ) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @08:34PM (#27631793) Homepage
    Although I agree in general with what CAN BE DONE with DNA, versus what actually happens with DNA.
    I think that Mendel called and wanted his genetics back.
    DNA misses many genetic facts about you, identical twin obesity, Mitochondrial DNA, Gene Imprinting, your body can turn on and off genes, etc
    Ergo I would say "DNA tells every single genetic medical fact about you." is a bit of a stretch.
  • by I)_MaLaClYpSe_(I ( 447961 ) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @09:48PM (#27632293)
    I just noticed, it was covered on Slashdot [] as well:

    Cotton Swabs are the Prime Suspect In 8-Year Phantom Chase

    Posted by samzenpus on Thursday March 26, @12:10AM from the mom-always-said-to-wash-your-hands dept. Biotech

    matt4077 writes "For eight years, several hundred police officers across multiple European countries have been chasing a phantom woman whose DNA had been found in almost 20 crimes (including two murders) across central Europe. It now turns out that contaminated cotton swabs might be responsible for this highly unusual investigation. After being puzzled by the apparent randomness of the crimes, investigators noticed that all cotton swabs had been sourced from the same company. They also noted that the DNA was never found in crimes in Bavaria, a German state located at the center of the crimes' locations. It turns out that Bavaria buys its swabs from a different supplier." biotech slashdotted csi weird swabdotted science biotech story

I've got a bad feeling about this.