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Yale Law Student Wants Government To Have Everybody's DNA

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the just-the-junk dept.

Privacy 544

An anonymous reader writes "Michael Seringhaus, a Yale Law School student, writes in the NY Times, 'To Stop Crime, Share Your Genes.' In order to prevent discrimination when it comes to collecting DNA samples from criminals (and even people who are simply arrested), he proposes that the government collect a DNA profile from everybody, perhaps at birth (yes, you heard that right)." Regarding the obvious issue of genetic privacy, Seringhaus makes this argument: "Your sensitive genetic information would be safe. A DNA profile distills a person’s complex genomic information down to a set of 26 numerical values, each characterizing the length of a certain repeated sequence of 'junk' DNA that differs from person to person. Although these genetic differences are biologically meaningless — they don’t correlate with any observable characteristics — tabulating the number of repeats creates a unique identifier, a DNA 'fingerprint.' The genetic privacy risk from such profiling is virtually nil, because these records include none of the health and biological data present in one’s genome as a whole."

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Good for him... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31485758)

I'd for everyone to have a million dollars.

Re:Good for him... (5, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#31485986)

I think you a word.

Re:Good for him... (3, Funny)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486054)

He accidentally, of course.

Re:Good for him... (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486154)

No need to him, he's just the information needed understand.

Dear Seringhaus, see the movie Gattaca (5, Insightful)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 4 years ago | (#31485760)

Then feel free to post a retraction to your very naive statement.

Re:Dear Seringhaus, see the movie Gattaca (2, Interesting)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | more than 4 years ago | (#31485906)

Or worse, he probably watched it and thought it's a great idea.

Oh, and where's the gattaca tag?

Re:Dear Seringhaus, see the movie Gattaca (2, Funny)

suso (153703) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486206)

Oh, and where's the gattaca tag?

Um, its different for each person?

How does he know it's unique? (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 4 years ago | (#31485938)

Before we even get to the Gattaca part, how does he know that this process will result in a unique sequence for every person? Including identical twins?

Re:How does he know it's unique? (2, Insightful)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486036)

Because we all know how MD5 turned out..

Re:How does he know it's unique? (2, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486202)

These 26 markers are basically snippets of DNA that are cut out of a DNA sample using endonucleases. these enzymes only cut at specific sites like GATTACA but not AATTACA etc. These cuts depend on the sequence of the snippet in question. The cuts are different lengths depending on where that GATTACA site is. A mutation at the G in the example causes the enzyme not to cut where it normally does. The probability of two separate individuals sharing the same genetic fingerprint would be at the least incredibly rare outside of identical twins.
So much in fact that human error with the test its self would be far more likely to blame for a match on more than one individual than more than one individual sharing the same genetic fingerprint outside of identical twins.

Re:Dear Seringhaus, see the movie Gattaca (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31485954)

Or, read the fucking article and realize that no one is storing your DNA, simply a fingerprint of the data. But nice

Wrong Movie Reference (3, Insightful)

Fortunato_NC (736786) | more than 4 years ago | (#31485976)

What you were supposed to say was:

I feel a great disturbance in the force, as if the Overton Window [wikipedia.org] cried out after being shoved to the right very, very hard.

Re:Wrong Movie Reference (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486078)

>>>Overton Window

"Ya wants me to break some more windows and provide Job Stims to the glass makers???" - government thug. Or maybe just junk some perfectly functional cars, which passed emissions inspections flawlessly, but we have to make work for those Government Motors employees.

Re:Dear Seringhaus, see the movie Gattaca (1)

Rydia (556444) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486194)

This is true, the fictional movie Gattaca conclusively proved that collection of genetic data leads to a hellish dystopia.

Dammit... (5, Funny)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31485776)

...my fingers don't even have to be cold and dead to pry my DNA out of them.

Re:Dammit... (3, Informative)

Danse (1026) | more than 4 years ago | (#31485912)

...my fingers don't even have to be cold and dead to pry my DNA out of them.

They would if you had a gun too! :)

Re:Dammit... (5, Funny)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#31485978)

There's got to be a masturbation joke somewhere in there.

Re:Dammit... (1)

JoelMartinez (916445) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486236)

I'm sure it'll come to you, just have to tug it out

Awwwww, hes just so cute and innocent... (5, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 4 years ago | (#31485780)

As a practical matter, universal DNA collection is fairly easy: it could be done alongside blood tests on newborns, or through painless cheek swabs as a prerequisite to obtaining a driver's license or Social Security card. Once a biological sample was obtained, its use must be limited to generating a DNA profile only, and afterward the sample would be destroyed. Access to the DNA database would remain limited to law enforcement officers investigating serious crimes.

Since every American would have a stake in keeping the data private and ensuring that only the limited content vital to law enforcement was recorded, there would be far less likelihood of government misuse than in the case of a more selective database.

Yeah, I remember being 5 or 6 years old and wondering why the whole world wasn't just nice to each other and all our problems would be solved.

Unfortunately, I grew up to have to understand the real world.

This guy reminds me of a cute little 5 year old. His heart is in the right place and he just wants everything fair and nice. However, those are some BIG ASSUMPTIONS he is making:

1) A sample will be destroyed after it is used to create a DNA profile.
2) Only law enforcement will have access
3) Since more Americans are in the database there is a less likelihood of government misuse.

Actually, I am not sure we can call those assumptions. More like hypothetical requirements for an argument, like, the Sun will be Purple tomorrow.

All 3 of those assumptions have been proven to be false, time and time and time and time again. Wasn't it just recently that we found out Texas A&M was participating in collecting blood and tissue samples from newborns without the parents knowledge and consent? Were they not also used for purposes the parents were unaware of and could object to?

Are we really to believe that only law enforcement would have access when any PI with a few bucks can currently gain access to supposedly proteced information that only law enforcement officials should be accessing?

Has not the goverment been caught time and time and time again abusing databases by using them for purposes well outside of the justifications and reasons for their initial creation? Doesn't the goverment quite frequently change their minds about what they will do with resources after the fact?

Sure, if all of those assumptions are held to be true, I would agree with him about making a DNA database. However, it is not my cynicism and disillusionment in goverment that causes me to be skeptical of those assumptions. It's COLD HARD REALITY, FACTS, AND PRECENDENCE. If you want to ignore that, and let them move on with a clean slate, that's your choice. I choose to remember how often the government lies to me and abuses me.

Re:Awwwww, hes just so cute and innocent... (-1, Redundant)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31485944)

Sun will be Purple tomorrow.

You never know, it might! (pouts). :)

Doesn't the goverment quite frequently change their minds about what they will do with resources after the fact?

Hell, certain agencies "change their minds" between approval and collection. "After the fact" is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg.

It's COLD HARD REALITY, FACTS, AND PRECENDENCE.

I think the word you are looking for is "precedents", not "precedence". The former is an indication of past behavior (as in "governmental invasion of privacy is not without precedent"), the latter is an indicator of priority (as in "your right to privacy should always take precedent over the government's need to protect you").

Actually, I suppose both kind of apply. (grin)

Re:Awwwww, hes just so cute and innocent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31486184)

I think the word you are looking for is "precedents", not "precedence". The former is an indication of past behavior (as in "governmental invasion of privacy is not without precedent"), the latter is an indicator of priority (as in "your right to privacy should always take precedent over the government's need to protect you").

So, if I'm understanding you correctly, we should remove the word precedence from the dictionary, right? ;)

Re:Awwwww, hes just so cute and innocent... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486224)

>>>Hell, certain agencies "change their minds" between approval and collection

And this why we have a U.S. Constitution, to specifically state what the central agencies Can Do (enumerated power) and Can Not do (Bill of Rights 9 and 10). Too bad nobody bothers to pay any attention to their Oath to obey constitutional law.

Again, this is why we need the 50 State Legislatures to stand up and act as a "check" on the central government, and restore "balance" to our political system, as well as enforcing the constitution that they created. If they don't do it, history shows that nobody will.

Re:Awwwww, hes just so cute and innocent... (1)

dfsmith (960400) | more than 4 years ago | (#31485952)

Mulder & Scully found them. They were behind a secret door in an abandoned warehouse. Pfft—what was the goverment thinking.

Re:Awwwww, hes just so cute and innocent... (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#31485996)

This guy reminds me of a cute little 5 year old. His heart is in the right place and he just wants everything fair and nice. However, those are some BIG ASSUMPTIONS he is making

You could say the same thing about the American electorate. As obviously flawed as these arguments are, they are convincing to a large proportion of the population.

Re:Awwwww, hes just so cute and innocent... (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486040)

More like hypothetical requirements for an argument, like, the Sun will be Purple tomorrow.

Crap, everybody paint their windows yellow, quick!

And how useful would it really be? (3, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486074)

The less data you have from the DNA, the more matches you are going to find. The reason things like DNA and fingerprints work is you have a smallish possibility set. You have 10 suspects, you compare the fingerprints, one matches, nine don't well there you go. In all cases with fingerprints and DNA you are saying "This item matches 1 in X people in the population." Now that's usually pretty good, like 1 in a million or something. However not so useful if your sample size is 300,000,000 and growing.

Also there's the fact that DNA tests aren't cheap, or particularly quick. They aren't the kind of thing you can use for every criminal case, it'd be way too expensive, not to mention unnecessary. I can't see that this would get used all the time. Fingerprints are done often because they are pretty cheap to test, but DNA? Not so much at this point.

So I can't really see this of being a whole lot of use to law enforcement either.

Re:Awwwww, hes just so cute and innocent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31486222)

Has not the goverment been caught time and time and time again abusing databases by using them for purposes well outside of the justifications and reasons for their initial creation? Doesn't the goverment quite frequently change their minds about what they will do with resources after the fact?

Not only that but how many times have we seen an employee leave a laptop full of information in their car overnight only to discover it gone in the morning? I'm not sure I trust the government employees to keep it secure even if they have the best of intentions.

Of course only the summary info will be collected, (2, Informative)

xanthos (73578) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486252)

That is until the pharm and insurance companies decide it would be beneficial for their businesses if the government collected this information, processed the full sequence and then shared it with them for free.

A few well placed political donations (thanks supreme court for dropping the caps!) and it is a done deal.

Until... (5, Insightful)

Xamusk (702162) | more than 4 years ago | (#31485792)

Until someone eventually find a use for that so-called "junk" DNA.

Re:Until... (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486060)

They send it to a recycling center to make brand-new DNA.

Re:Until... (1)

BubbaDave (1352535) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486076)

I though we all knew at this point there is no such thing as junk DNA- it's all used for something, whether it be patches supplied by bacteria, viruses, or who knows what.

Dave

Re:Until... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31486130)

I'm afraid you don't know much about genetics. The "use" of that junk DNA is as a spacer, to help the chromosome fold into a specific shape. Forensics uses a kind of repeating DNA sequence called a VNTR, which is just a repetition of a handful of nucleotides less than 50 bp in length. These sequences are shaped in such a way that they cause DNA polymerase to slip, and so when passing on the genes there is a higher likelihood that they will change in the number of repeats. The content of these repeats is the same in everyone, it is only the number of them that varies. When the genes containing these sequences are expressed, they are cut out (look up "intron" on Wikipedia) and are prevented from being expressed.

There are a very small number of VNTR patterns that are actually important to medicine and biology, such as the one that causes Huntington's disease, where different numbers of repetitions can create problems. However, the VNTRs that forensics use are known to have no impact on cell health (there are enough to chose from!) As our dear foolish law student said, the FBI's database really just consists of a few numbers (the number of repetitions for each VNTR per chromosome.)

As far as programmers should be concerned, the use of genetics in criminology is directly analogous to creating a unique serial number for people, which can only be cheated by faking a blood sample or by identical twins. Any rebuttals of this technique should focus on that scenario, or on corruption of the process used to check and verify the samples (i.e. mishandling of the samples, collection of extra info, et cetera.) The actual procedure this guy's proposing isn't at fault for procedural reasons, and unless you've actually taken a genetics course, STFU about GATTACA-like scenarios.

Re:Until... (2, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486260)

Non-protein coding regions would be far far more accurate. Biologists have known this to be the case for quite some time yet the media just won't let the "junk DNA" term die.

ITG wants Yale Law student to go to hell (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31485798)

I feel the above statement that came to me in a moment was just about as well thought out as this students proposal.

Re:ITG wants Yale Law student to go to hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31486014)

Something has to be done about this person. He is dangerous.

prevent discrimination? (2, Insightful)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#31485806)

What... What!?! To prevent the system from singling people out for abuse we are going to abuse everybody? Only a lawyer could think this wasn't perverted logic.

Re:prevent discrimination? (2, Insightful)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 4 years ago | (#31485984)

If you assume that collecting DNA from everyone who is arrested is fair, why wouldn't it be fair to collect it from everyone who is born? And conversely if it is not fair to collect it from everyone, why is it fair to collect if from everyone who is arrested?

Re:prevent discrimination? (3, Interesting)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486104)

For the same reasons that it is only fair to put people that have been convicted in prison, but not people who haven't been.

*Note: I don't think it is fair to do this to anyone, least of all innocent babies. I may be able to become convinced it is ok to do this to people who are convicted felons (that is a pretty unlikely 'may'), but you'll never convince me this is ok to do to people who are merely arrested.

Re:prevent discrimination? (2, Insightful)

residieu (577863) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486108)

Who has said that collecting from everyone who is arrested is fair?

Re:prevent discrimination? (2, Interesting)

GameMaster (148118) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486256)

I tend to think it's fair to collect it from people who are arrested, but only if it is destroyed automatically if they aren't convicted in a certain amount of time afterword. The problem is that the US government (along with state and local authorities have proven themselves incapable of deleting any data once hey have their hands on it).

Re:prevent discrimination? (0, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486262)

Arrested people forfeit their rights. Like the right of liberty (they are thrown in prison) or the right to be secure in their homes (the judge searches for evidence), or secure in their persons (collection of prints and DNA).

They still retain SOME of their rights, such as a trial by jury, but not all of them.

wait a minute... (3, Insightful)

quantumhuman (1344033) | more than 4 years ago | (#31485814)

I'm not as interested in keeping my genetic medical profile secret as in preventing EXACTLY THIS.

Good Idea (1, Troll)

afabbro (33948) | more than 4 years ago | (#31485816)

Personally, I'm in favor of this. Vast numbers of sex offenders and other criminals would be swiftly caught and punished. Oh wait, this is America - well, they'd be caught anyway. It's a privacy-vs-justice tradeoff I'm willing to make.

However, there is a much larger question here...who the frack cares what a college student has to say?

In other news, my barber thinks 9/11 was a conspiracy by the Bush administration. New York Times, I expect to see an editorial written by him published soon.

BTW, what's with the editorial "yes, you heard that right" - as if this is a completely shocking idea that hasn't been proposed about a hundred times.

Re:Good Idea (2, Insightful)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#31485916)

who the frack cares what a college student has to say?

Like it or not, today's kids are the ones who will be running things tomorrow. Especially the ones coming from Ivy league law schools.

Re:Good Idea (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486140)

who the frack cares what a college student has to say?

Like it or not, today's kids are the ones who will be running things tomorrow. Especially the ones coming from Ivy league law schools.

And we've already seen how well THAT works out in the 21st century.

BOGYAHICA.

Re:Good Idea (1)

Cytotoxic (245301) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486110)

Why did the NYT publish this? Probably because the President of the US just said that he was in favor of getting DNA from every person who is arrested. [wired.com] Confusing times we live in....

Poisonous. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31485826)

This has so many flavors of wrong, so toxic to freedom, and so indicative of the mindset of "If you have nothing to hide..." that there's really only one response I can pull together. It's not eloquent, but it does, I feel, have a certain crude charm.

"FUCK. YOU."

Re:Poisonous. (1)

trurl7 (663880) | more than 4 years ago | (#31485992)

Permit me to add my own heartfelt support to your aforementioned sentiment.

Fine With Me (4, Interesting)

LearnToSpell (694184) | more than 4 years ago | (#31485830)

Gimme your /etc/shadow too. What's the problem? It's encrypted.

Piss off, Seringhaus. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31485834)

Fuck off, Seringhaus. Your idea stinks, and should have absolutely no place in the United States, or any other first-world nation that considers freedom to be of even the slightest importance.

Re:Piss off, Seringhaus. (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486166)

or any other first-world nation that considers freedom to be of even the slightest importance.

What does that have to do with the United States?

That fucker! (2, Interesting)

BubbaDave (1352535) | more than 4 years ago | (#31485838)

They'll stop looking for a match after they find one- regardless of the fact there will be hundreds to thousands of potential matches.

Dave

Re:That fucker! (1)

hanabal (717731) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486016)

that's a good point. I wonder if the fingerprint/DNA software the police use to search the database stops searching once it finds the first match or goes through the whole database and presents all possible matches.

Re:That fucker! (1)

boyfaceddog (788041) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486120)

Close, they'll stop looking when the data they find matches the person they WANT to put away.

FIRST COP: "This one has an 88% match."
SECOND COP: "This one has a 75% match AND he's a sex offender."
FIRST COP: "BINGO!"

My DNA (0, Offtopic)

sparhawktn (818225) | more than 4 years ago | (#31485842)

They can pry my xy chromosomes from my cold dead body

Re:My DNA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31486002)

They can pry my xy chromosomes

This made me realize that the dna collection itself doesn't have to be particularly unpleasant...

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31485854)

Seems to me the elites are getting worried that the middle class is about to start an uprising.

The best way to stop crime is to also add a DNA kill-switch on everyone. Stop behaving in a manner that enriches the elites of our society, and poof you're a goner.

So how do we stop the elites the crimes of robbing a plundering our hard work?

Paternity (2, Interesting)

Nit Picker (9292) | more than 4 years ago | (#31485856)

Someone could have a field day with this data looking for discrepancies between claimed and actual paternity. A gold-mine for the tech savvy blackmailer.

Will not work (5, Insightful)

Ma8thew (861741) | more than 4 years ago | (#31485858)

Stick to law, not biology Mr. Seringhaus (and honestly, I'm not too hot on you entering law). The genetic fingerprint works OK for identifying the guilty person out of several suspects, but it does not work if you have everyone on a database. If the chance of two unrelated people having the same fingerprint is (and I don't know the actual number) one in ten million and if you have every American in a database then given a DNA sample you'll get thirty people, twenty nine of which will be dragged into court through no fault of their own. Put simply, this is a profoundly stupid idea.

Re:Will not work (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31486058)

This is a good assessment. Everything in genetics has a false positive rate (a.k.a. false discovery rate). We start filling the database with hundreds of millions of people and it becomes very difficult to identify a person uniquely from those fingerprints.
    We could use more fingerprints, but that only decreases the probability of a false hit. Multiple comparisons can also mess up the significance reporting and allow misinterpretation.
    I've seen how sloppy molecular biologists can be with this sort of thing. I don't want to see how sloppy law enforcement and/or government agencies can be with it.

Re:Will not work (3, Interesting)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486064)

" the chance of two unrelated people having the same fingerprint is (and I don't know the actual number) one in ten million and if you have every American in a database then given a DNA sample you'll get thirty people, twenty nine of which will be dragged into court through no fault of their own. Put simply, this is a profoundly stupid idea.'

Wow. So you have no clue about the actual overlap rate, have no clue if the author does, and then conclude his idea is dumb.

I marvel at the logic of you and the person who modded you up.

Re:Will not work (1)

Ma8thew (861741) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486216)

Well I've looked it up now and according to WIkipedia [wikipedia.org] it's somewhere between one in 5 million and 1 billion. Even if it is one in 1 billion you might have thousands of cases using it a year and you're pretty quickly going to run into collisions.

Re:Will not work (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486138)

Not to mention I get a knock at the door and it's the cops:

Cops: Mr. Desperation, your friend Unquiet Slumber was killed earlier today.
Me: ZOMG! O_o
Cops: We need to take you in.
Me: Buh?
Cops: Your DNA was identified at the scene.
Me: Well, yeah, Unquiet's a buddy. I'm over there all the time.
Cops: Come with us please.
Me: Buh?
Cops: Book him, Danno.
Me: Hey, how'd we get to the police station so fast?
Cops: We have teleportation, too.
Me: Well, you'll never hold me, coppers! Mwah ha ha!
(QD transforms into flight mode and blasts out of there, leaving a hole in the roof)
Cops: ZOMG! O_o
Me: Ha ha! Now to take over the Vatican with my maser cannons of doom!

er...

OK, I strayed a bit from the point, but you savvy what I'm sayin?

Re:Will not work (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31486146)

Not to say there aren't other issues with this, but in and of itself the one to many mapping of DNA 'fingerprints' to actual people is not as big a problem as you make it out to be. Sure a given 'fingerprint' may ID 20, 30 or even 100 people, but once this becomes the norm, cops will have to go back to old fashioned police work. If semen with a certain 'fingerprint' is found at a crime scene in NY and it maps back to 50 people, all it would take to eliminate virtually all of them was a phone call to get a rough alibi (what state were you in last Wednesday and whom can we call to verify this?).

The single most valuable thing such a registry would do would be to convince people that DNA 'fingerprints' are NOT, in and of themselves, reliable identifiers.

Re:Will not work (3, Insightful)

Ma8thew (861741) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486246)

Yes but just imagine: you could one day have a knock at the door, and the police have a warrant to arrest you and search your house. You have no idea why, but as it turns out your DNA matched that found at the scene of a crime. It could take months or years to clear your name. Imagine further that this is some kind of horrific rape or murder. You could lose your job, be threatened by vigilantes, lose friendships.

Re:Will not work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31486226)

Why would 29 people be dragged to court? Where all thirty people living in the same city of the crime? That's a heck of a coincidence, you are assuming that they will go and arrest everyone that matches the DNA without an investigation of some sort...

Re:Will not work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31486258)

The chance of two unrelated individuals sharing the same "fingerprint" is less than 1 in the number of people on the planet, by a couple orders of magnitude. So yes, it would still be useful, although its discriminatory value drops when suspects are related to one another.

Refer to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short_tandem_repeat for more information. In the US, only 13 loci are necessary for a fingerprint to be unique enough (again, chance of two unrelated individuals sharing the same 13 loci is less than 1 in the number of people on the planet).

What a coincidence! (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 4 years ago | (#31485862)

I just watched 1984 last night. Freedom is Slavery!

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31485870)

It's basically like my DNAs MD5 hash?

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31486062)

Pretty much.

cf http://www.kb.cert.org/vuls/id/836068 [cert.org]

Re:So... (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486170)

Yep! Collisions and all.

He should never be admitted to the bar. (2, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31485876)

This student is the kind of larval shyster whose contempt for the bill of rights should exclude him from ever being allowed to practice law in the United States. Kick him out of law school.

-jcr

Re:He should never be admitted to the bar. (2, Funny)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486044)

I just did a quick mental cross-reference, and I'm pretty sure this kid is destined to be a member of Congress.

-Peter

Main problem: inept crime labs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31485882)

See The dark side of DNA [theglobeandmail.com]

Short summary: crime labs make a lot of errors.

What about parental rights? Filial rights too? (4, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 4 years ago | (#31485920)

Can a parent provide a DNA sample to some collection agency for money or for few? Can a child sue his/her parents, when he/she turns 18 if his/her parents have compromised his/her privacy?

Not necessarily junk (2, Insightful)

Rijnzael (1294596) | more than 4 years ago | (#31485942)

Aside from the obvious arguments on the complete invasion of privacy, junk DNA is just DNA that we /think/ does not actually express itself with any observable or measurable trait. However, it's quite possible that how a gene expresses may be discovered at a later date. Imagine it's discovered that certain thinking patterns or genetic disease with high cost of treatment have a correlation to certain sequences of formerly junk DNA. In insurance company or government hands, I don't see how that information would be used in anything but an oppressive manner. And of course, the particular set of digits which result from one's DNA profile is condition of the enzyme used to slice up the DNA sample. With that large of a sample space false positives are all but assured.

"No." (4, Insightful)

drDugan (219551) | more than 4 years ago | (#31485946)

"Your sensitive genetic information would be safe." It won't be safe for long with databases like these around.

It's simply naïve to hope that all those in political power will follow a course of action other than acting to get more power and more control. Most people will follow the rules and take sincere interest in their fellow man, but the few who don't are those you have ward against.

Imagine the next argument about how much better the government could make life for people if "Your sensitive genetic information" were also collected. This data would help medicine a lot. As we move toward more genetic basis for defining diseases, and defining the interaction of drugs within different people based on their genetics, there is a very strong argument that scientists could make health care better with broad access to the exact genetic information of all patients. Genetics coupled with disease phenotypes, frequencies, and drug interactions with quantitative metrics of effectiveness leads to revolutionary breakthroughs in drug development.

But to get this data would eliminate all aspects of personal privacy regarding your health.

If you believe in property at any level, your own body is unequivocally the one thing you own without exception. Unless there are overriding and unequivocal public health reasons to give someone else control over your body, the only answer is simply "No."

Be safe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31485994)

It is possible to create a matching genetic sample from arbitrary DNA given only those 26 numeric values. With genetic samples of everyone, even if only those 26 values, anyone can be framed for any crime. And thanks to CSI genetic evidence is taken almost unquestionably as proof of guilt.

The unintended consequences (1)

zapster (39411) | more than 4 years ago | (#31485998)

if that ever happens then we will all have to protect our DNA (Hair, skin, spit, etc.) because loss of control of your DNA to a criminal spells guilty in court.

One thing this wouldn't address... (1)

NecroPuppy (222648) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486006)

Is human chimerism (induced or innate).

That is, absorbing a twin (CSI episode, I think), or from a bone marrow donor.

A mouth swab won't include blood-based DNA.

Admittedly, the odds of this actually coming up in a criminal case are pretty low... but even knowing about it was apparently enough to get me dismissed from a jury.

Hashes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31486010)

How about just storing a hash of the DNA sequence?

This is why... (4, Informative)

vvaduva (859950) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486012)

...you shouldn't listen to student lawyers that still can't grow a mustache!

The Israelis have already shown that DNA can be replicated [politics.co.uk] and an innocent individual could be implicated in a crime without his or her knowledge.

Only an ignorant fool would advocate what this guy is advocating!

There's something seriously frightening (4, Insightful)

$beirdo (318326) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486022)

about this steady stream of idiots who are willing to mindlessly trust the government. Have the horrible lessons [wikipedia.org] of the twentieth century [wikipedia.org] already been forgotten [wikipedia.org] ?

other usages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31486024)

Any information you share to others can be used against you. I bet that Jewish didn't guess that by getting your name in the temple papers would work against them when the Nazis were searching for them.

Mission Creep (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486030)

The Elected Nobility won't keep their promises. "Oh it's only 26 markers... we can't predict your health from that," and then in ten or twenty years they'll want to sequence your entire genome, so they can create a society like GATTACA.

I've seen this before. The Nobles promised income tax would only affect people over $100,000 not the commoners. They said Medicare would only cost 60 billion, and that it would REDUCE healthcare costs, which of course it did the exact opposite. And they claimed the social security number would Never be used for anything else, but the SS administration.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice.....

Re:Mission Creep (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486234)

This is a very well known corporate strategy to introduce something the people are dead against.

This strategy used to me the main way such things got done by governments before the Bush administration very cleverly capitalised on 9/11 by legally allowing anti-terrorist activity to trump all citizens rights.

It was only a short step to then to permit any government official to claim almost any activity was done in the name of anti-terror.

In fact I'm really surprised this guy hasnt autmaotically invoked the anti-terrorist mantra.

Just out of curiosity ... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31486038)

Is there some kind of strange black oil rolling around on the surface of his eyeballs?

Whatcouldpossiblygowrong? (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486100)

Come on, where is the tag? You all know this one deserves it.

Here's an idea (4, Insightful)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486116)

Why don't we try this only with Yale law students?

Assumes that the junk is really junk (1)

Matt Perry (793115) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486152)

they don't correlate with any observable characteristics

... that we know of at this time.

Safe and Secure and Fast.... (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486168)

Terms never associated with the government.

I am sure we can surely trust them with our DNA.

It will turn out just fine.....

I'm all for it (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486186)

As soon as politicians and the people around them start carrying 24x7 mikes.

I prefer "Stop Crime, Become Better People" (1)

eepok (545733) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486188)

Seriously, I do. In an attempt to create a safer society while preventing attempts at "Pre-Crime" and not further taxing our "post-crime" response paradigm, I focus all my attention at education and mentoring students. Instill an appreciation for knowledge of history (and the mistakes of other people), logic (and thus decision-making), and give the kids the tools they need to reject marketing (which tells them they need things they don't... which leads them to be victims of strain).

The best way to reduce crime? Be better people.

Stop crime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31486190)

So if everyone shared their DNA, all crimes would be solved...

Maybe this kid is watching to much CSI.

"Give me a place to stand on ...." (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486196)

" .... and I will move the Earth", said archimede, in regard to levers.

the correct application of this as a metaphor for this situation would be, "Give me 1000 fools like this to put in charge, and they will destroy Earth" i think.

mar0e (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31486200)

This is already being done! (2, Informative)

another_other (1767998) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486218)

Newborn babies in the United States are routinely screened for a panel of genetic diseases. Since the testing is mandated by the government, it's often done without the parents' consent, according to the National Newborn Screening & Genetics Resource Center. In many states, newborn, babies' DNA is stored indefinitely, according to the resource center. In New Jersey, newborn babies' DNA is stored for 23 years. In 2008 alone over 125,000 samples of newborn's DNA was collected and stored in a government or state run lab in New Jersey. While I do not think that parents should forego such genetic screening, I think they should have the right to have the screening done privately and with their complete consent. While we know the law (GINA) signed by then President George W. Bush is supposed to protect future generations from discrimination based on their genetic profiles, even the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children suggests that only parents or legal guardians should have access to a child's genetic profile. Many parents don't realize their baby's DNA is being stored in a government lab, but when they find out, as this couple did, they take action. Parents in Texas, and Minnesota have filed lawsuits, and these parents' concerns are sparking a new debate about whether it's appropriate for a baby's genetic blueprint to be in the government's possession.

There is a law against that... (3, Insightful)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486220)

Wow.

Considering with the current DNA sampling methods, my DNA will match one or two million other people on the planet, a good few thousand of them being in my own country...

No thanks, I have no desire to admit and take the blame for the crimes those other people did and were caught at.

Someone should direct this so called law student to our constitutional amendments. He only has to get through the first 5 or so :P

DNA profiling is not flawless (1)

zmooc (33175) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486250)

The way the DNA samples are represented and compared is far from perfect. Evidence-samples are often incomplete or polluted. False positives occur and will occur increasingly as the number of samples grows. DNA profiling is NOT flawless, but you cannot defend yourself against the presumption that it is. Collecting everybody's DNA wil inevitably result in quite a few innocent people ending up in jail.

Random link about the subject: http://dna-view.com/profile.htm [dna-view.com]

Never mind the Constitution (1)

netwiz (33291) | more than 4 years ago | (#31486278)

As I see it, this violates at least one Amendment (#4, right against search and seizure without warrant) and maybe more (I can probably make a case against #6 as a violation of the fact there's no act or cause of accusation and maybe #5 as a violation of my right to not self-incriminate). This is sick. This kid should be drummed out of Yale due to his gross misunderstanding of the fundamental tenants of criminal law in the United States.

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