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NY Governor Wants To Expand DNA Database

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the leave-your-swab-at-the-door dept.

Crime 169

crimeandpunishment writes "If Governor David Paterson has his way, New York would take DNA samples from even the lowest level of criminal, doubling the state's DNA database. He says it would help to both solve crimes and clear people who were wrongly convicted. New York would become the first state in the country to do this. Currently DNA isn't collected in most misdemeanors. The plan is getting lots of support among law enforcement, but the New York Civil Liberties Union says there are questions about privacy."

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NYC Governor? (5, Insightful)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672312)

I mean shit, yes, the city of NY would like to pretend they're the whole state, but there's like, a lot more than NYC...

Re:NYC Governor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32672354)

No way!!

Re:NYC Governor? (1)

Pilo (673839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672452)

Someone needs to call Bloomberg and inform him of his promotion.

Re:NYC Governor? (2)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672466)

As a New Yorker, I've never quite understood why Albany is the capital and not NYC.

Re:NYC Governor? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672508)

It's to protect yourself from naval attack

Re:NYC Governor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32672676)

Are you just saying that, or is that actually true? It makes sense, and I've often wondered about other state capitals and how far they are from the major population center (which is often a port of some sort).

Re:NYC Governor? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32672710)

Jack? Meet your FUCKING ASS.

Re:NYC Governor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32673134)

Hahaha, I would have modded that offtopic. Funny, but completely offtopic.

Re:NYC Governor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32672920)

NYC as a I recall was also a bit of a hotbed of Loyalists.

Re:NYC Governor? (1)

GameMaster (148118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32673254)

That, and because, back in the days before cars, planes, and good roads, putting your capital in the center of the state made it easier for elected lawmakers from all over to get there and it, also, made it easier for a state government based there to administer the whole state.

Re:NYC Governor? (1)

jonnat (1168035) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672518)

As a New Yorker, I've never quite understood why Albany is the capital and not NYC.

Or Washington, DC, for that matter.

Re:NYC Governor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32672672)

It was a compromise. IIRC, the US would ban importation of foreign slaves at a given date, under the condition that the capital would be moved to the South.

Re:NYC Governor? (4, Informative)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672542)

As a New Yorker, I've never quite understood why Albany is the capital and not NYC.

New York city has some great things, but they're merely the occasional nut in the turd that is the main course. Have you ever seen a sitcom on TV? Most of them take place in New York, and most of them feature annoying, self-absorbed douche bags like Ted Mosby.

Re:NYC Governor? (1)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672560)

Then there's some gems like NYPD Blue, 24 (last season), and Law and Order.

Re:NYC Governor? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32672778)

doink doink! Why is everybody so important and so busy they can't stop working for 5 minutes to tell the cops that they don't know anything about this week's murder victim?

Re:NYC Governor? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32672972)

Fail, Fail, and Fail.

Re:NYC Governor? (1)

GameMaster (148118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32673268)

Yes, because we should really base our understanding of what people in a certain place are like from crappy sitcoms...

Re:NYC Governor? (4, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672816)

As a New Yorker, I've never quite understood why Albany is the capital and not NYC.

In most states - and in most counties - the biggest city never remains the capital.

It ignites too many old rivalries and suspicions: Rural vs Urban.

City vs City.

Inland vs Coastal. Manufacturing vs Trade.

Albany was the crossroads:

The Mohawk, the route of the Erie Canal, West.

North, Lake Champagne, northern New England and Canada. South, the Hudson and New York City.

Re:NYC Governor? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32673198)

Actually, the reason why NYC isn't the capital of NY is because when the capital of NY was chosen NYC was already the capital of the US. (Obviously they switched it later.)

Re:NYC Governor? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32673284)

To boot, New York might be one of the only states it means anything in anymore.

New York City is already so powerful it influences every state in United States and the world, much less Albany. (Smoking laws, food laws, roads etc. etc.)

Most people do not even realize how large New York state is or that it even exists, it's pretty much you are from "New York City" or nobody has a clue. Even "New Yorkers" reference the rest of the state as "Up State", thats pretty general when your dealing with the 27 largest state in land mass and largest in population by far.

Only problem is try living on a 420 dollar a month unemployment check when you live in NYC and its rated for the state!!

Re:NYC Governor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32672890)

It was an attempt to move sewage away from the city.

NYC was the first capital of the US, back in 1789.

And Kingston, NY was the first capital of NY state.

Re:NYC Governor? (2, Interesting)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32673010)

For the sake of sanity?

Honestly, and I say this as a guy who regularly visits NYC should be in it's own state or maybe with Jersey.

Re:NYC Governor? (1)

JDevers (83155) | more than 4 years ago | (#32673084)

The few times I've visited, I've thought Newark up and over to southern Connecticut should be its own COUNTRY...

Re:NYC Governor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32673244)

I grew up in Pennsylvania, where the capital is Harrisburg, not either of the larger cities Philadelphia or Pittsburgh. It just makes sense to me that you don't make your biggest city your capital. Sometimes I forget that that's not the case in all states.

Re:NYC Governor? (1)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672494)

Little surprise us folks from the other 54,000 square miles of New York hate those provincial louts from the city.

Re:NYC Governor? (1)

thescooterman (1538813) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672572)

Solidarity reigns above the catskills! It's a magical land where people are happy, and don't plan on being knifed twice a day. Nor do we think that the Jersey shore is ' a calm little vacation destination where you can get away from it all ' ...

Re:NYC Governor? (1)

legojenn (462946) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672618)

I thought that the provincial louts live north of NY State in the Province of Quebec and the Province of Ontario....just sayin'/

Re:NYC Governor? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672688)

I mean shit, yes, the city of NY would like to pretend they're the whole state, but there's like, a lot more than NYC...

I figured he'd finally been run out of office for massive corruption and found a new gig down South.

Re:NYC Governor? (1)

skine (1524819) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672764)

New York City contains about 8 million people.

New York State contains about 20 million people.

Re:NYC Governor? (1)

skine (1524819) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672770)

New York County contains about 1.6 million people.

Governor of the City, eh? (1)

thescooterman (1538813) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672344)

NYC is the city -- With *Mayor* Bloomberg ( ~ 305 sq. miles) NY is a state... (~ 54,475 square miles) ... and Patterson is the governor of the STATE (which does unfortunately have to deal with said 'tiny island')

Re:Governor of the City, eh? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672432)

Tiny island of a mere 8 million people.

when half of your constituents live in a specific area, it's pretty important regardless of how many sq.mile of the state it takes up.

And then the crackdown on jaywalkers (5, Insightful)

gig (78408) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672350)

If this happens, what will follow is a crackdown on jaywalking and other everybody crimes so that the database becomes universal. They'll be taking DNA at traffic stops.

Re:And then the crackdown on jaywalkers (5, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672454)

If this happens, what will follow is a crackdown on jaywalking and other everybody crimes so that the database becomes universal. They'll be taking DNA at traffic stops.

That's quite predictable but a lot of (naive) people will be very surprised when it happens. Maybe they can get over their surprise long enough to consider what this tells them about the nature and intentions of the people who are pushing for these kinds of laws. This whole scenario reminds me of an entry from my quotations file:

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
-- H. L. Mencken

This is a bit like the War on (some) Drugs. Observation: a government has very little power over those who break no laws. Therefore, if you want to expand the police power of government, you need more laws. If there aren't enough criminals, you make crimes of things that are not crimes to produce some more. If there are plenty of criminals, or if that option isn't realistic, then you increasingly treat very minor crimes the same way you handle serious crimes. It seems New York is going with that latter option.

Re:And then the crackdown on jaywalkers (2, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672830)

The thing about the "slippery slope" fallacy, is that it's most often derided as fallacy by people with a brush in one hand and a can of "slope grease" in the other...

Re:And then the crackdown on jaywalkers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32673020)

You sound like one of those crazy "limited government" types. Personally, I prefer having Uncle Sam so far up my ass that his beard tickles my throat.

Re:And then the crackdown on jaywalkers (5, Insightful)

SpecBear (769433) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672570)

Actually, it's even worse than having a universal database. The database will largely exclude the people who create and enforce the law, along with those they favor.

If the DNA database were universal the legislators and their friends and families would also be included. That would dramatically increase the chance that there would be meaningful limitations on how the data was used.

Exactly (4, Insightful)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672730)

If police can gain an advantage by enforcing laws against minor and/or discretionary offenses, you can be sure they will take full advantage by enforcing such laws more often. It's been known to happen, and it will happen again if this abominable bill is turned into law.

Re:And then the crackdown on jaywalkers (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672914)

This is New York. An officer can be standing on a corner, look a jaywalker in the eye and will wish him a pleasant day before considering living up to his oath.

DNA is a double edged sword (4, Interesting)

Nichotin (794369) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672404)

While there are some very clear benefits of using DNA as evidence in some cases, it can also be deliberately misused to purposefully frame people. Leaving false DNA evidence is much easier than copying someones fingerprints. A couple of kilos of cocaine planted in someones apartment, with a piece of hair, can in some jurisdictions land people in jail for a long time. It is somewhat the same dillemma with electronic evidence. Some real criminals are caught using historic location data or credit card date. At the same time, if you are well aware that this sort of evidence is taken seriously, you can also use it to create your own alibis which can make investigators rule you out as a suspect in the first place.

This is just a concern regarding the part about "He says it would help to both solve crimes and clear people who were wrongly convicted.", because I think someone might be wrongly convicted BECAUSE of the new use of DNA evidence. I don't really like the idea that you should collect DNA because of small crime in the first place, and even though there might be some benefits, this certainly weighs against (even though some might be found innocent).

Re:DNA is a double edged sword (4, Interesting)

Compholio (770966) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672530)

While there are some very clear benefits of using DNA as evidence in some cases, it can also be deliberately misused to purposefully frame people.

Yeah, just wait until the crooks catch up and start using DNA synthesis to frame people without even having access to their DNA (or just sufficiently contaminating a crime scene to make DNA evidence useless). You may not be able to recreate someone's entire DNA, but you can recreate enough of it to fool the "fingerprint" in the database.

Re:DNA is a double edged sword (4, Insightful)

joe_frisch (1366229) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672576)

I don't think the important issue is whether the data is collected, but how it can be used. For example if law enforcement can try to match a sample from a crime scene against EVERY person in their database, you need a really low rate of false positives. Nationwide there are probably something like a million crimes committed each year (just guessing from the prison population). If you can match each against 300 million people in a database, that gives you 3x10^14 chances to make a mistake. We can't expect perfect justice, but even with a 1 in a 10 BILLION error rate, that is 30,000 false positives per year. Some of those will have enough other (weak) evidence to get convictions. Yet what jury wouldn't be convinced by a (true) claim that the chance of a false match is "only" one in 10 billion?

Also, once the data exists, is (should?) the government be required to check everyone in prison against DNA evidence if it exists? Personally I think this is very desirable, but it would be very expensive.

Also can the DNA evidence be used to predict tendencies to crime. This isn't practical yet, but we might in the future detect genetic markers that have correlation with types of criminal behaviour. Is it fair to say in court that the accused "has genetic markers that indicate a propensity to violence"?

The final problem is that once DNA evidence is very common use, as the poster above mentions criminals will start to plane evidence. Murder someone - plant a few hairs that you collected from someone else. Framing someone becomes much easier.

Juries need to understand that the existence of DNA evidence at a crime scene only shows that ....the person's DNA was at the crime scene - it doesn't say the person was there, or that they committed the crime.

Many of these arguments apply to various other high tech information gathering.

Re:DNA is a double edged sword (2, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672978)

it can also be deliberately misused to purposefully frame people. Leaving false DNA evidence is much easier than copying someones fingerprints.

I would like to see some real-world examples.

The frame you left behind may be carrying traces of your own DNA.

Your victim now has every reason to spill the beans, expose everything he knows about your operation since the day your were expelled from My Darling Little Angels Day Care Center.

 

Re:DNA is a double edged sword (3, Interesting)

joe_frisch (1366229) | more than 4 years ago | (#32673018)

I think there are a couple of reasons we haven't seen this yet (as far as I know). DNA evidence is most useful in violent crimes (doesn't help much with securities fraud). I expect violent crimes are in general perpetrated by less educated and less sophisticated criminals. (of course there are exceptions). Also, DNA evidence so far is mostly used as a back-up to other evidence. If it becomes more important I think we will see more faking / framing.

Same argument applies to cell phone tracking. As this is used more by law enforcement I expect we will see various hacks on cell phones to mis-report locations, or to appear as a different phone.

That's the right idea (2)

areusche (1297613) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672410)

Let's make New York City its own state. Heck throw in Long Island while you're at it.

And while we're on the subject of Patterson let me repeat what I said earlier in a story about him involving the NBC and Comcast merger.

I just don't think Governor Paterson sees the repercussions of this. Seriously he's blind to the blatant civil rights problems this will create.

The ACLU needs to give him the cane for this.

Re:That's the right idea (4, Funny)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672444)

"Seriously he's blind..."

Priceless!

Look around the governor's mansion (2, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672442)

I'm sure Spitzer left quite a bit lying around.

Re:Look around the governor's mansion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32673136)

I'm sure Spitzer left quite a bit lying around.

Let's hope he also left around a little of his willingness to upset rich and powerful people.

There goes the neighborhood... (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672480)

Uh-oh... does this mean he wants more babies? For a geneticist, more babies is like ordering the Sampler Plate at Denny's.

By what perversion of logic? (4, Informative)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672504)

How is this supposed to clear the wrongly convicted?

If you are wrongly convicted, you wont have much issue providing your own DNA to get free.

This has only a few applications:

With current technology a matching genetic pattern can be generated. This would make a great tool for acquiring genetic patterns for the fabrication of evidence and false convictions.
Even without such fabrication, genetic evidence can be abused to implicate someone that just happened to have passed through the location of a crime days, weeks or months before the event.

Re:By what perversion of logic? (2, Insightful)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672544)

It allows the law enforcement to skip the step of having to arrest you to get your DNA to test.

Re:By what perversion of logic? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672692)

And how does that do anything other than increase your chances of getting convicted (both wrongfully and rightfully)?

Re:By what perversion of logic? (1)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32673108)

That's precisely what it does. Do note the topic states BOTH solving crimes (rightfully convicted) and clearing people who were wrongly convicted.

Re:By what perversion of logic? (1)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32673116)

Actually, ignore this, I misunderstood the reply.

Re:By what perversion of logic? (1)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32673124)

The point is to reduce wrongful convictions. Prevention is better than cure.

Mod parent up (1)

CanadianRealist (1258974) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672756)

I was going to make this exact point if it hadn't already been made.

So first they'll convict you, then they'll take your DNA and then prove that you didn't really do it? I'm sure you would have offered your DNA before.

Or they'll find that the DNA evidence matches someone else's DNA to prove that you didn't do it? If the DNA evidence matches someone else then it doesn't match your DNA. No need to take anyone else's DNA to prove that.

Sound like BS to make a bad idea sound better. Makes about as much sense as adding manure to bad tasting medicine "to make it taste better".

Re:By what perversion of logic? (2, Informative)

sevenfootchicken (1268690) | more than 4 years ago | (#32673226)

How is this supposed to clear the wrongly convicted?

If you are wrongly convicted, you wont have much issue providing your own DNA to get free.

This has only a few applications:

With current technology a matching genetic pattern can be generated. This would make a great tool for acquiring genetic patterns for the fabrication of evidence and false convictions. Even without such fabrication, genetic evidence can be abused to implicate someone that just happened to have passed through the location of a crime days, weeks or months before the event.

The theory is that if the person that actually committed the crime has a DNA sample in the system already then you will never be convicted in the first place. Or if you have already been convicted and they later get a sample that matches, from the newly expanded reasons for taking a sample, you are set free. This has already happened several times in rape cases in California. The individual was convicted even though the DNA was not a match. Then years later they take a DNA sample on an unrelated case, it matches the DNA from the previous case and they let the innocent guy out of jail.

Who the fuck he thinks he is? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32672516)

Sure - and I want world peace.

Clear people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32672522)

"He says it would help to both solve crimes and clear people who were wrongly convicted."
yeah sure like thats ever going to happen.
judge: we found the bloody knife in your kitchen, but since we couldnt find any dna evidence of you being at the victims home you are free of all charges.
it will probably be more like:
judge: we couldnt link you in any way to the murder case, but we found one of your hairs in the victims appartment. have fun in jail."
there are millions of reasons why your dna could be at a certain place.

Re:Clear people? (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672870)

If a sample of DNA is available, then what stops someone who can do PCR from copying enough DNA to contaminate a crime scene?

* add reagent, then cycle through a string of water baths N times to get 2^N times as much.

If this bothers you, look at the US House (5, Informative)

e9th (652576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672540)

The U.S. House wants to collect DNA from people merely arrested. [cnet.com] And they'll pay the states to do it.

Re:If this bothers you, look at the US House (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32672896)

And they'll pay the states to do it.

The Government is not a resource, so they will in fact charge the states to do it.

From phones to your DNA? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672556)

The tracking of phones should give US readers some ideas of how this will be used.
http://tinyurl.com/y9lh6wq [tinyurl.com] [www.nydailynews.com]
A suspect's cell phone battery is removed to avoid leakage, exposing the International Mobile Equipment Identity number to be noted down.
Also recall how the system seems to work in the UK
"Police arresting people "just for the DNA""
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5AN1FA20091124 [reuters.com]

Question: how is this different from other data? (1)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672562)

Just a question to naysayers: how is this different from the state wanting to know where you live, or wanting your name on record?

Re:Question: how is this different from other data (2, Insightful)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672680)

Just a question to naysayers: how is this different from the state wanting to know where you live, or wanting your name on record?

If I get a cut and bleed somewhere, having my name or address on file doesn't tell you I was there. Having my DNA does.

Re:Question: how is this different from other data (3, Insightful)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672682)

Just a question to naysayers: how is this different from the state wanting to know where you live, or wanting your name on record?

- It uniquely identifies a person.
- It may be used against that person in the future, even if the person was innocent at the time of collection.
- It may require drawing blood. Some people are very afraid of needles and should not be forced to submit to a blood test unless the person is to stand trial for a crime where drawing blood makes legal sense (as opposed to it just being something the government thinks would be nice to have).

Re:Question: how is this different from other data (1)

ArcadeNut (85398) | more than 4 years ago | (#32673074)

Just a question to naysayers: how is this different from the state wanting to know where you live, or wanting your name on record?

- It uniquely identifies a person.
- It may be used against that person in the future, even if the person was innocent at the time of collection.

You mean like, oh.. I don't know... Fingerprints?

Re:Question: how is this different from other data (2, Informative)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 4 years ago | (#32673174)

You mean like, oh.. I don't know... Fingerprints?

GP didn't ask how it was different from fingerprints. Having said that, DNA conveys information that fingerprints do not. Fingerprints can't be matched against your relatives, nor do they reveal information about a person's genetic makeup. Finally, fingerprint collection is less invasive than DNA collection, especially when DNA is obtained via needles.

Re:Question: how is this different from other data (3, Informative)

berzerke (319205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32673140)

...It may require drawing blood...

The collections (real-life) I've seen don't need blood. They just swab the inside of your mouth.

Re:Question: how is this different from other data (1)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 4 years ago | (#32673228)

The collections (real-life) I've seen don't need blood. They just swab the inside of your mouth.

Cheek swabs are certainly an option, but that doesn't rule out the drawing of blood as an alternative (possibly at the arresting officer's discretion) unless it's explicitly forbidden by law.

Re:Question: how is this different from other data (2, Interesting)

steelfood (895457) | more than 4 years ago | (#32673282)

You forget the important thing: It moves with the person, and independently of the person.

Someone mentioned it's like a fingerprint. A clean fingerprint can place someone at a certain location with a high degree of accuracy.

DNA cannot do even that, except under very specific circumstances. Despite it being treated as direct evidence by law enforcement, it's circumstantial evidence at best.

Re:Question: how is this different from other data (3, Insightful)

netruner (588721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672736)

Just a question to naysayers: how is this different from the state wanting to know where you live, or wanting your name on record?

Those examples are just further up the slippery slope.

Of course Leo's do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32672690)

It means they have longer to eat donuts instead of having to do real work to solve crimes.

False Positives (5, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672694)

The tests they do have a 99.9% success rate (if it's gone up or that was too optimistic, let me know, but that's last I saw). That means, once you collect DNA from everyone, each sample will hit on 30,000 Americans. So then, you have 30,000 people to sift through. It's good at taking a single person and comparing them against another with high reliability. But to search massive databases, you get too many hits. And then, you have to exclude 29,999 people to find the right one. Or, if you happen to be living nearby with no alibi, you may get convicted with nothing other than "your" DNA at the scene.

So it isn't just about the privacy of your DNA, but the miscarriage of justice by people that don't understand statistics and zealous police and DAs who are in the habit of creating evidence to convict someone they "know" did it (or in the case of DAs, they don't know or care who did it, but their conviction rate requires a guilty verdict and is more important than justice).

This is all just a symptom of a larger problem. The "justice" system is unrelated to justice and has become a punishment system where even those never convicted are punished in many ways (confiscation of money without any process at all, in direct violation of the Constitution, as long as they suspect that a drug user looked at it once). The government exists to serve us, and no, I don't mean serve us with warrants.

Re:False Positives (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672798)

Actually, the false-positive rate is a lot lower than that. Just ask O.J. He had to impeach the collection and storage practices at the LA crime lab, and the integrity of every person in the chain of evidence, because if he couldn't do that, the 170-trillion-to-1 chance the DNA wasn't his was going to put him in the gas chamber.

Re:False Positives (4, Insightful)

AusIV (950840) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672848)

If you collect DNA directly from two people you can pretty much be certain that the DNA comes from two different people, barring identical twins. I believe there are 13 markers used to identify DNA, and if all 13 markers are intact the odds of a match are astronomical. The problem comes when you collect DNA from a crime scene - which may have 7 of 13 markers in tact - and compare it to a database. In that case, chances are fairly high that you'll get a match.

Prosecutors will go and tell a jury that the odds of a match are 1 in 1,000,000 (for example). In truth, this means the odds of any two people matching are 1 in 1,000,000, but they don't explain that the match was found using a database of 300,000, so the odds of finding a match were quite high. Unless the accused has a bullet proof alibi, they go down for the crime because juries don't understand statistics.

Re:False Positives (4, Funny)

PrecambrianRabbit (1834412) | more than 4 years ago | (#32673110)

Should I find myself in such a situation, do you think I can insist on my right to trial by a jury of my peers, where "my peers" are those who can understand basic probability and statistics?

Re:False Positives (1)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672916)

The tests they do have a 99.9% success rate (if it's gone up or that was too optimistic, let me know, but that's last I saw).

Knowing nothing about how DNA testing is done, how does the statement above reconcile with this case, [dallasnews.com] in which an expert witness testified that the odds of a false positive "are 1 in 2.69 quadrillion [dentonrc.com] "?

Re:False Positives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32673336)

DNA should be used to clear someone from a crime, not convict someone of one. There is too much reasonable doubt to convict someone.

Why doesn't he balance the budget first? (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672706)

...Or has he balanced it already? Looks to me like he has his priorities misplaced. Am I wrong?

Re:Why doesn't he balance the budget first? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672808)

So he's not allowed to do anything else until he balances the budget? No other government activity is to occur, until the budget for 2013 is complete and has a black number at the bottom? Is that how you want your legislature to work?

Of course, your budget probably carries a fat debt load, too, but you don't see a blind governor bitching about that.

Re:Why doesn't he balance the budget first? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32672886)

2013? We don't have a budget here in NY for THIS year. We're basically in a race with California to see who can shut down the gov't first.

Re:Why doesn't he balance the budget first? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32673222)

So his number has to go at the bottom, just because it's black?

Taxes. They *WILL* be used against you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32672714)

"B-b-b-but we NEED the government to make us safe and secure and take care of us!!!"

I got no problem with this. (-1, Troll)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672784)

Criminals gave up their rights when they committed a crime.

In fact, I don't think it's anyone's right not to be identified by the epithelials they leave lying around.

If your footprints can be taken at birth, so can a few cells from the inside of your cheek.

In fact, I'd encourage everyone to get registered for fingerprints and DNA, because the time, money, and grief it will save your family when your unrecognizable torso is dug up in the woods, is significant.

So again, fuck the criminals.

Re:I got no problem with this. (3, Interesting)

Joe U (443617) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672934)

Criminals gave up their rights when they committed a crime.

Darn right, and I've solved the budget problem as well.

I suggest parking tickets and jaywalking be the threshold for being added. Wait about 5 years, then start doing DNA tests on litter, which will have fines raised up to $250 per item.

Think about it, NYS could mass-fine millions of people a day! Dropped that cigarette butt on the ground? $250! Chewing gum? $250. Drink container that fell out of a garbage can that hasn't been picked up in a week? $250.

Heck, raise the fine to $500 and jail people who don't pay.

Re:I got no problem with this. (4, Informative)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672946)

Criminals gave up their rights when they committed a crime.

Obviously you are not familiar with the Constitution of the United States or the Bill of Rights.

Re:I got no problem with this. (1)

hcmtnbiker (925661) | more than 4 years ago | (#32673344)

Criminals gave up their rights when they committed a crime.

Someone's rights(within reason to what they did) are forfeited when they are CONVICTED, there is a HUGE difference there. Otherwise if a murder happened in a small town the police should be able to collect evidence from everyone in the town, after all it could have been anyone, and that person who did it doesn't have rights at all, right? And if someone is proven innocent later is their DNA purged from the database or does it stay there forever just because someone suspected they committed a crime?

In fact, I don't think it's anyone's right not to be identified by the epithelial they leave lying around.

And I believe they do have the right; now how are you going to tell me I'm wrong? There is no legitimate gain from collecting DNA from a person if they where law abiding, or did not commit a crime where DNA was involved at all.

In fact, I'd encourage everyone to get registered for fingerprints and DNA, because the time, money, and grief it will save your family when your unrecognizable torso is dug up in the woods, is significant.

That seriously the best answer you have? If you really did leave DNA around wherever you go why couldn't they compare the body to samples taken from another piece of clothing or something you owned? Hell, if it was a relative you could just run a DNA test with a sample from the relative and when it comes back with a 99% odds they're related be all set. Your argument does not stand on it's own.

I swear to God, if you believe this is a good idea I hope there's a special place in hell for you. This is called unreasonable search and seizure, police even when executing a warrant must only collect evidence pertaining to the crime. This law pertains only to evidence collection that does not pertain to a crime otherwise it would have been collected in the original investigation. My body, my fucking epithelium! If I did commit a crime and DNA was valid evidence in it go ahead and keep it, you'd need to in case of appeal anyways, but otherwise you have no right or grounds to keep it, so do the right thing and destroy it.

and... (2, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672844)

This is the reason we have the right to bare arms. My .45 will be empty before they get any samples off me.

Re:and... (4, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#32673104)

This is the reason we have the right to bare arms. My .45 will be empty before they get any samples off me.

Wouldn't you rather wear long sleeves? Having bare arms just makes it easier to take a DNA sample.

Problems are obvious (3, Informative)

Darth Cider (320236) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672884)

Crooks can just salt the scene of the crime with DNA not their own.
 
DNA tests are not quick, either - forget what you have seen on TV. The FBI backlog is overwhelming [propublica.org] , as it is for State labs in most cities. DNA evidence collected at a crime scene is likely not to be analyzed before the trial date.
 
New York City doesn't have the money to do this, anyhow. The cost would be exorbitant, even with a balanced budget.

Re:Problems are obvious (1)

nbauman (624611) | more than 4 years ago | (#32673232)

The FBI backlog is overwhelming, as it is for State labs in most cities. DNA evidence collected at a crime scene is likely not to be analyzed before the trial date.

Doesn't New York City have a lot of DNA forensic equipment left over from testing all the body parts in 9/11?

New York City doesn't have the money to do this, anyhow. The cost would be exorbitant, even with a balanced budget.

Can't they get federal funds to help them?

They need to take the DNA from homosexuals (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32672954)

This way they'll know who to nab when another filthy child molester gets away from the scene of the crime.

showcasing our own errors (2, Insightful)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 4 years ago | (#32672958)

"He says it would help to both solve crimes and clear people who were wrongly convicted."

uh-huh. Yeah, sure.

Investigating Officer 1: Lets review this case investigation, with impending court charges against our suspect, just so we can, you know, get him off, if we, you know, fucked up.
Investigating Officer 2: So we expose our ineptness, and corruption, and blow our case stats all at the same time?
Investigating Officer 1: Meh, Its 5pm anyhoo. Couple jars down at the local?

DNA allows matching on a relative as well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32672968)

In some ways, this is no different to a database of fingerprints. They suffer from the same problems (false positives, near matches etc).

But in other ways, it's actually a whole lot more "helpful". For example, if person A commits a crime and their DNA is not on file, but a close relative (person B) is in the database, it's probable that the database will give a near match.

This means that the cops will potentially be able to say "this DNA is from Person B, OR family member of person B".

Which means they may be able to reduce the scope of their investigation even if the person they're looking for isn't in the database.

Looking for a cure for blindness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32673046)

Nuff said with the subject line

Cost is to high to do it for all crimes! (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32673138)

Cost is to high to do it for all crimes!

Oblig Judge Dredd Reference.. (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32673332)

For social order, we need tighter reins.
Incarceration hasn't worked as a deterrent.
I say we expand execution to include lesser crimes!

Who would have thought a movie based upon a comic book that takes place in a city similar to NewYork would foresee something like this?

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