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New York State Passes DNA Requirement For Almost All Convicted Criminals 260

New submitter greatgreygreengreasy writes "According to NPR, 'Lawmakers in New York approved a bill that will make the state the first to require DNA samples from almost all convicted criminals. Most states, including New York, already collect DNA samples from felons, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. What's remarkable about the New York bill is that it would expand the state's database to include DNA from people convicted of almost any crime, even misdemeanors as minor as jumping over a subway turnstile.' Gattaca seems closer than we may have thought. Richard Aborn, one of the bill's backers, said, 'We know from lots of studies and lots of data now that violent criminals very often begin their careers as nonviolent criminals. And the earlier you can get a nonviolent criminal's DNA in the data bank, the higher your chances are of apprehending the right person.'"
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New York State Passes DNA Requirement For Almost All Convicted Criminals

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  • My first thought: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jm007 ( 746228 ) on Friday March 16, 2012 @11:42AM (#39378265)
    Who is making money from this?
  • by Swampash ( 1131503 ) on Friday March 16, 2012 @11:47AM (#39378375) just imprison everyone, and let out only those who can prove they haven't committed a crime?

  • by SteWhite ( 212909 ) on Friday March 16, 2012 @11:48AM (#39378389)

    As usual for an invasion of privacy or violation of fundamental rights, the UK got there first. In England, you get your DNA taken and stored simply if you get arrested - you don't even need to be charged, let alone convicted.

  • by wheeda ( 520016 ) on Friday March 16, 2012 @11:49AM (#39378413)
    Most violent criminals have their beginnings as a crying baby. Ergo, we should collect DNA from all crying babies. This will allow our helpful government to keep us safe. I'm way more concerned about turnstile jumpers than our government collecting a little DNA.
  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Friday March 16, 2012 @11:56AM (#39378535) Journal

    Please. Wake me up when Lloyd Blankfein gets charged under RICO.

  • by Paracelcus ( 151056 ) on Friday March 16, 2012 @11:58AM (#39378581) Journal

    When you take away everything, you have nothing to lose! And someone with nothing to lose is the most dangerous thing in the world!

  • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Friday March 16, 2012 @11:58AM (#39378585)
    It isn't, but the idea of fingerprinting got well established before we realized how unreliable a way of identifying people it is. Fingerprinting is a decent way of establishing the identity of someone in a setting where you can take their fingerprints in a controlled fashion and compare them to a record of fingerprints taken in a similar manner. However, it is a terrible way of establishing the identity of the person who left fingerprints at a crime scene. There was a study done a few years back where they submitted fingerprint samples to ten experts over a period of time. Only two of the experts returned the same results for the same sample when it was resubmitted to them (with them believing that it was a new sample).
  • by Tyrannosaur ( 2485772 ) on Friday March 16, 2012 @12:01PM (#39378649) just imprison everyone, and let out only those who can prove they haven't committed and will never commit a crime?


  • by tiberus ( 258517 ) on Friday March 16, 2012 @12:07PM (#39378741)

    While it may be a bit a paranoia, it is certainly not fear mongering. Fingerprint data which is merely an image of the swirls, loops, etc. that make up your finger print basically only one use to show that someone (or thing) left a print a certain location and then to show you are or may have been the person that left that fingerprint.

    Your DNA on the other hand is a veritable cornucopia of information. It can reveal your genetic sex, relate you to your family members (who may also be in the database), tell if your a risk for a disease or cancer, a carrier for sickle cell anemia, the list go on and on and well on.

    This is a slippery slope issue. New York states that no one else will have access to the information, at least not today. Researchers, medical companies want and eventually ask for and may be granted access to this information to be used to benefit them, not us.

    Also consider that processing DNA is much more involved and technically challenging fingerprints, that concerns already exist about chain of custody, accuracy of the information kept and generated...

    I simply can't see this ending well.

  • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Friday March 16, 2012 @12:09PM (#39378779)

    we are all, already, imprisoned.

    (deep thought for friday morning, I know).

    you are not free to move around and you are not free to do many things. sure, we have some token liberties given to us, as they often throw dogs a bone.

    but we are, in a very real sense, imprisoned. you can name many things you think you can freely do but I can probably name more things that we should be able to do and we can't.

    society is a balance of control and freedom. I think we jumped the shark a few decades ago and its been downhill on the freedom ride ever since.

    this just proves it, but in a more blatant and in-your-face way. they don't even try to hide it anymore.

  • by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Friday March 16, 2012 @12:20PM (#39378919) Journal

    We know from lots of studies and lots of data now that violent criminals very often begin their careers as nonviolent criminals. And the earlier you can get a nonviolent criminal's DNA in the data bank, the higher your chances are of apprehending the right person.

    We also know that nonviolent criminals begin their careers as noncriminals. Why not just require DNA samples from everyone?

  • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Friday March 16, 2012 @12:29PM (#39379053)

    I refuse to believe this is is constitutional. A policing body taking my genetic code and doing god know what with it if I jay walk or look at a cop wrong? Lets see how this silly piece of paper hold up in court.

    Criminal convictions are all about reducing your rights, and your anonymity, from that point in time forward. If they can retain info like photos of your face, tattoos, scars and other distinguishing physical features; biological information like height, weight, fingerprints, blood type, medical conditions, etc ... then how is retaining info on your DNA something new and unprecedented? I'm a bit fuzzy on what is unconstitutional. Creepy yes, unconstitutional probably not.

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Friday March 16, 2012 @12:31PM (#39379091) Journal

    There you go. That's the appropriate level of cynicism. Now are you going to keep voting for the same authoritarians, or are you going to make your voice heard by voting for a third party?

  • by Tsingi ( 870990 ) <graham.rick@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Friday March 16, 2012 @12:35PM (#39379155)

    Who is making money from this?

    An excellent first question.

    We know from lots of studies and lots of data now that violent criminals very often begin their careers as nonviolent criminals.

    I'd like to point out both violent and non-violent criminals start out as human beings, so if we just get DNA from all human beings, we will have it when they become violent criminals.

  • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Friday March 16, 2012 @12:47PM (#39379323) Homepage

    Data cannot be destroyed. Truly destroying it requires significant skill and effort.

    This is a lesson society has learned from the computer age. While a record can be deleted, it is really still there. On the drive, on a backup, on someone's laptop, on a flash drive, in a cache file, in an email, or some combination. Laws exist to make it illegal for governments, service providers, telecoms to delete data. So once it finds it's way to certain points it is protected from deletion.

    If we really want DNA to not be held, then it must never be collected in the first place. And since it is so easy to do, and so prevalent it is unlikely that will ever happen.

  • Fingerprinting is old and mature tech.

    So are acupuncture, astrology, and polygraph interpretation. I wouldn't put a lot of stock into age as a measure of reliability.

  • by Moryath ( 553296 ) on Friday March 16, 2012 @01:31PM (#39380009)

    Remember, "they're all guilty of something []" is the standard credo of cops and prosecutors. You can be guilty of something and not even know it [] thanks to the fucked up state of law [] in the USA.

    The goal of a program like this is to DNA-code the entire populace, which is ridiculous.

  • Re:The steps. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sperbels ( 1008585 ) on Friday March 16, 2012 @01:31PM (#39380017)
    So let me imagine how this would work.

    Company (say, FreeDNAAnalysis.Com) starts offering free DNA sequencing so you can find out what diseases your predisposed to. But you have to accept an agreement that's so full of legalese that you don't read it/can't understand it. What it basically does is copyright your DNA and grant them the right to sell it to anyone. They acquire more DNA from other sources, such as law enforcement, or other government agencies who are collecting the data.

    Then entities start buying this data. Insurance companies, or drug marketers, DHS, or whoever stands to make a profit from knowing that you have a family history of depression, ADHD, schizophrenia, heart disease, murder, whatever.

    You, being a smart fellow, had the foresight to copyright your DNA beforehand. But your DNA was taken and sold off to FreeDNAAnalysis.Com because of a speeding ticket you had back in 2019.

    Now the insurance company wants to jack up your rates because FreeDNAAnalysis.Com says your DNA makes you at risk to develop irritable bowel syndrome. You'll need an expensive lawyer in order to even be heard by anyone besides a call center drone in India. You'll need to give the lawyer your house to actually sue. And even then you'll probably lose. So you give up and just pay the extra $20 in insurance costs, which, when spread out of millions of people equates to a small rise in quarterly profits and bumps up the stock price of all of the companies involved.

    You, unknowingly own some of the stock in your 401k, but it's not enough to amount to shit.
  • Its Inside Out (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Walt Sellers ( 1741378 ) on Friday March 16, 2012 @01:46PM (#39380219)

    Fingerprints can identify you.

    DNA can identify you, your parents, your children and other family members.
    DNA can show your genetic odds for diseases like diabetes or alcoholism.

    Once your DNA is in the public record:
    - Your health insurance rates might go way up because you have good odds of diabetes.
    - Your car insurance rates might go up because you fit the DNA profile of a drunk, even if you don't drink.

    And what do you do if you happen to be an identical twin, triplet, etc, whose sibling committed the crime?

    Even if your DNA was never taken, it may suddenly be difficult to get certain jobs because now employer background checks might run a DNA scan on public databases and find out you have a relative convicted of fraud. (I might feel better about this if DNA-based background checks were required to be a candidate in an election.)

  • Law and order isn't a game, but it is stacked in favor of the accused. Hence the phrases "innocent until proven guilty" and "beyond a reasonable doubt". It damn well better be substantially harder to convict someone than for them to show a reasonable doubt about it, because otherwise you create a society in which people can just be thrown in prison. That's getting increasingly easy to do, but in most cases there's still a court involved, and they do still care about things like evidence procedures and presumption of innocence.

    I don't care that the guy gets off, if the police were sloppy. Even if he's a murderer and everybody knows it. The police need to do their job right, because if they're allowed to get away with illegal searches and still get the conviction, we're all at risk.

    I'm not even some paranoid libertarian, but this is pretty basic justice.

All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly