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Crime Databases Privacy United States

Local Police Departments Are Building Their Own DNA Databases (ap.org) 50

Slashdot reader schwit1 quotes the Associated Press: Dozens of police departments around the U.S. are amassing their own DNA databases to track criminals, a move critics say is a way around regulations governing state and national databases that restrict who can provide genetic samples and how long that information is held. The local agencies create the rules for their databases, in some cases allowing samples to be taken from children or from people never arrested for a crime. Police chiefs say having their own collections helps them solve cases faster because they can avoid the backlogs that plague state and federal repositories...

Frederick Harran, the public safety director in Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania...said he knows of about 60 departments using local databases... "The local databases have very, very little regulations and very few limits, and the law just hasn't caught up to them," said Jason Kreig, a law professor at the University of Arizona who has studied the issue.

One ACLU attorney cites a case where local police officers in California took DNA samples from children without even obtaining a court order first.
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Local Police Departments Are Building Their Own DNA Databases

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  • Forget it? Unlikely (Score:5, Interesting)

    by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Sunday March 05, 2017 @10:47AM (#53979767)

    >"state and national databases that restrict who can provide genetic samples and how long that information is held."

    If you really believe that the government actually completely lets go (forgets/purges) DNA information it collects, I have some nice swamp land for sale in Florida...

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Wait, but there really is nice swamp land in FL. Don't you mean in the desert or something?
      • by Anonymous Coward

        He has a nice swamp in D.C. to sell you as the officially bonded agent of Trump Real Estate Holdings LLC. :)

        • by Agripa ( 139780 )

          Can we replace D.C. with a swamp? It was a swamp before so restoration should be relatively easy.

    • >"state and national databases that restrict who can provide genetic samples and how long that information is held."

      If you really believe that the government actually completely lets go (forgets/purges) DNA information it collects, I have some nice swamp land for sale in Florida...

      Now that the storage of such data is trivial, it simultaneously unleashes the potential for great advancements and great abuses.

      The best weapon we still wield against the most egregious abuses is the freedom to disseminate sketchy practices such as this, and to demand some accountability. Law enforcement is a necessary, often thankless job. My hat's off to those who keep the peace, but, if left to the police, the Police State is inevitable.

    • by cdrudge ( 68377 ) on Sunday March 05, 2017 @11:15AM (#53979849) Homepage

      I have some nice swamp land for sale in Florida...

      It [google.com] is only swamp land on the weekends. During the week it drains to another location [google.com].

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      On method is just to hold all images, DNA unless a person who had contact with the police asks for it to be removed.
      Its too expensive to go into past databases and remove people who had contact with police but did not get convicted.
      "MPs 'alarmed' by millions of mugshots on Brit cops' databases" (10 Mar 2015)
      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2... [theregister.co.uk]
      Other methods are public private partnerships. A bank, private building security keeps CCTV for 6 months or more in partnership with local law enforcement.
      As its
  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday March 05, 2017 @11:04AM (#53979815) Homepage Journal

    At first glance I read this as "Lego police departments..."

    Like wow, talk about a left-wing Lego set! Shades of the Playmobil TSA playset, eh?

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Sunday March 05, 2017 @11:43AM (#53979937) Journal

    There are people in the United States who hate the government but love the police. Never really understood that.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      No more odd than people who love the government but hate the police. (I tend to side with the police because at least they're out their putting their lives at risk to protect the public, unlike a paper-pusher bureaucrat.)
      • by hey! ( 33014 )

        Actually, neither position is peculiar, if you understand how republics actually work, as opposed to how they purport to work.

        Going all the way back to Rome, powerful organs of the state (like the army or praetorian guard) tend to become autonomous and ungovernable. Over the years countless minor acts of expedience become traditions, and their constitutional role in the republic is either undermined or revised.

        Today you can see this most clearly in Middle Eastern "republics", where it is never safe to talk

        • That was an insightful, informative, and well-written post - thanks for taking the time to write it.

          Blurring the line between external and internal security is a radical, pseduo-conservative move that underlines a long and successful American tradition.

          Should that have been "undermines"?

      • If you want an example of local police shenanigans, look no further than here:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

        If you wrote this as a movie script they'd reject for being too far-fetched.

      • I tend to side with the police because at least they're out their putting their lives at risk to protect the public

        Except that the police are not "putting their lives at risk". Policing is not a particularly dangerous profession. Farmers, truck drivers, and even garbagemen, are more likely to die on the job. The most common reason that police die is suicide. The second most common reason is traffic accidents.

        Real life policing is very different from what is depicted in the movies. For instance, over a 30 year career, this is the median number of times that a police officer fires his weapon in the line of duty: 0.

  • Am I Paranoid? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by puddingebola ( 2036796 ) on Sunday March 05, 2017 @12:05PM (#53980009) Journal
    We seem to be moving towards a future where anonymity will no longer be possible. In a world where we carry pocket computers that track our location 24/7, and the police have personal databases of our genetic information, what opportunity will there be to simply be a face in the crowd. Technology continues to provide more and more of the tools that can make a perfect police state.
    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      This was all ready in law since the 1980's. DNA, CCTV was just waiting for the fast databases and decades of storage.
      Been in jail? Prison? DNA time. That gets your kin too.
      Mil? Worked for the mil and had some medical work done? The DNA is online
      New DNA test in the private sector that some gov/private medial system pays for in full?
      Getting one part of the DNA can then be linked to crimes with parts of the DNA over decades, generations. Not just the person who had the DNA test but anyone who sha
      • A DNA swab harvests a vast swath of privacy. Two Parents share all your DNA; a sibling, a random half. Generational analysis! Targeting groups of people based on pseudo-science linking genes with behaviors. EEK! Another hair-raising invasion of privacy. Add the secret subpoena to harvest medical information, and we have a seizure of private information we have lost the right to even know about. I thought I was paranoid before, now it's further down the rabbit hole. Taking a person's DNA reveals priva
  • Now, Officer John Law will have a trove of DNA samples to synthesize and contaminate any evidence in the unlocked property room that will 'solve' any stone-cold whodunnit! Get rid of every pesky minority in their fine Apartheid Red communities because DNA evidence to corn-pone mouth-breathing juries is the word of God writ large.
  • when police would investigate things like burglaries instead of focused on databases and surveillance. just a minor bitch from me this morning.

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