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Privacy a concern as DNA collections become pervasive

April 5 2012 at 11:32 AM

Coalde  (Login cwc.mgmt)
CWC Member

Hmmm...a program called "Spit and Acquit"...what do the cops do if you swallow? Take you out for breakfast after? Oh, wait I might have misunderstood what they were referring to...
March 29, 2012 — 12:56pm ET | By David Perera

Collections of DNA samples have the potential to become the next unintended national identifier the same way as Social Security numbers unintentionally increased in importance, warned Samuel Jenkins, director for privacy within the Defense Department's privacy & civil liberties office.

"We have to be careful as we're collecting this DNA that we don't leave a similar circumstance," Jenkins said while speaking March 26 at a biometrics event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

Collections of DNA have become increasingly common; Jill Spriggs, chief of the bureau of forensic services in the California Justice Department, noted that Orange County offers to withdraw charges against misdemeanor suspects in exchange for a DNA sample. The program, she said, is called "spit and acquit."

DNA samples differ from other identifiers, however, in that they can be used to also reveal familial relationships. The Los Angeles Police Department used in 2010 DNA samples to find a link to biological evidence in the case of a serial killer active for two decades known as the "Grim Sleeper." Once a familial link between a known criminal or suspect and DNA evidence is established, police work can concentrate on a much-reduced pool of suspects.

A panel of Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judges turned down a challenge (Haskell v. Brown) by American Civil Liberties Union's Northern California chapter against the California law permitting police to collect DNA from anyone arrested for a felony violation on Feb 23.

The majority opinion (PDF) held that "law enforcement officers analyze only enough DNA information to identify the individual, making DNA collection substantially similar to fingerprinting, which law enforcement officials have used for decades to identify arrestees, without serious constitutional objection."

"We conclude that the Government's compelling interests far outweigh arrestees' privacy concerns," a majority of judges said. The ACLU of Northern California says it is asking the entire circuit to hear the case.

...hmmmm, let's see, law enforcement is tracking everywhere you go and has your DNA and the mainstream media simply reprints government reports on the latest "rocket bomb" attack on those we are told are our enemies...Orwell seems to have been off by 20 or 30 years.

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 ...E7Apr 5, 2012, 7:37 PM
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