U.S. to Expand Collection Of Crime Suspects’ DNA (pdf)
The U.S. government will soon begin collecting DNA samples from all citizens arrested in connection with any federal crime and from many immigrants detained by federal authorities, adding genetic identifiers from more than 1 million individuals a year to the swiftly growing federal law enforcement DNA database.
The policy will substantially expand the current practice of routinely collecting DNA samples from only those convicted of federal crimes, and it will build on a growing policy among states to collect DNA from many people who are arrested. Thirteen states do so now and turn their data over to the federal government.
[…] Although fingerprints have long been collected for virtually every arrestee, privacy advocates say the new policy expands the DNA database, run by the FBI, beyond its initial aim of storing information on the perpetrators of violent crimes.
They also worry that people could be detained erroneously and swept into the database without cause, and that DNA samples from those who are never convicted of a crime, because of acquittal or a withdrawal of charges, might nonetheless be permanently retained by the FBI.
“Innocent people don’t belong in a so-called criminal database,” said Tania Simoncelli, science adviser for the American Civil Liberties Union. “We’re crossing a line.”
She said that if the samples are kept, they could one day be analyzed for sensitive information such as diseases and ancestry.
No “could” about it, really. Once the technology becomes cost-effective, you can probably bet on it.
And it’s interesting whose records get a lot of effort, and those that don’t – Record-Keeping Bill Is Criticized As ‘Anemic’ by Watchdog Group (pdf)
Citing “significant deficiencies” in the preservation of e-mail by the White House and federal agencies, House Democrats yesterday introduced legislation to strengthen and modernize electronic record-keeping requirements. But a private watchdog group called the bill inadequate and issued a report describing federal record-keeping as antiquated and chaotic.