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What Will We Do With Innocent People's DNA?

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the if-you-have-nothing-to-hide dept.

Biotech 595

NevDull writes "As creepy as it may be to deal with identity theft from corporate databases, imagine being swabbed for DNA samples as a suspect in a crime, being vindicated by that sample, and never even being told why you were suspected. This article discusses a man, Roger Valadez, who's fighting both to have his DNA sample and its profile purged from government records, and to find out why he and his DNA were searched in the BTK case. DA Nola Foulston said, 'I think some people are overwrought about their concerns.' -- convenient as she wasn't the one probed without explanation. The article then mentions that 'In California, police will be able in 2008 to take DNA samples from anyone arrested for a felony, whether the person is convicted or not, under a law approved by voters in November.' What will be the disposition of the DNA of the innocent?"

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Nothing to Fear (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005550)

DA Nola Foulston said, 'I think some people are overwrought about their concerns.'

In a country where the federal government has been concentrating power in the capital, I can't see where she gets such bizarre ideas.

We're heading for a country where everyone is a potential suspect, eventually. And when the congress pulls and late nighter and the president flies back to the capital to quickly sign a bill allowing the government to barge past states rights and personal descisions it's discomforting. It would probably be a small matter to bury into a large bill some little thing that allows the transportation of all DNA evidence to be conveniently sent to the Foggy Bottom and squirreled away somewhere, where it could be called upon the next time someone needs a roundup of the usual suspects and a filing error could easily send anyone off to Gitmo.

Re:Nothing to Fear (5, Interesting)

Mistlefoot (636417) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005740)

everyone is always a potential suspect.

What of the poor sap who has an affair with someone who happens to get raped/murdered on her way home.

That his sperm has been found in her body and definitly matches means he's guilty?

How do you prove you had consentual sex with a now dead women. There are many such instances were the DNA found at the scene does not mean guilt. It seems to be the rule of thumb these days. If the DNA is there you are deemed guilty.

Re:Nothing to Fear (1)

The_K4 (627653) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005848)

If you had an affair with someone who was raped/murdered on her way home you should come forward if they have your DNA or not. ANY information that you can give the police will help them in hopefully finding the true killer. If you don't, even if they don't have your DNA on file, they will most likly find you anyway.

Re:Nothing to Fear (3, Funny)

neil.pearce (53830) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005894)

Drunken one-night stand?
Obviously this rarely applies on Slashdot...

Time to drag out this old chestnut: (2)

This Old Chestnut (759273) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005779)

"For the Greater Good", by Cat Stevens, 1936:

First they came for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up,
because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up,
because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up,
because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for my DNA,
and by that time there was no one
left to speak up for me because
they were all too busy pontificating
on Slashdot.

Re:Nothing to Fear (4, Insightful)

pizzaman100 (588500) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005844)

And when the congress pulls and late nighter and the president flies back to the capital to quickly sign a bill allowing the government to barge past states rights and personal descisions it's discomforting.

Ok, I'll bite. States rights are non existent, and have been for some. Just last week the SC ruled that it's illegal for any state in the union to put to death a 17 year old who commits multiple premeditated murders. Try to have your state lower the drinking age to 19, or opt out of Social Security, or pass a law against abortion or (insert idea here). This cuts both ways politically. But unfortunately the different party wings only howl when it comes to an issue that they care about. The rest of the time they have no problem with the Feds imposing their will.

Re:Nothing to Fear (5, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005852)

You should also know that every individual that serves in the armed forces is required to submit a blood sample for DNA isolation and data warehousing. Of course these databases are supposed to be used principally for identification of remains, there are other more insidious plans that some individuals have proposed and acted upon with these data. i.e. using the data to test database systems and index them to criminal records. The problem of course like I have said before is that once these databases are created, it is very difficult to put the djinni back in the bottle. People will access them and include them in other projects.

Cluster and Classify ... (4, Interesting)

foobsr (693224) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005558)

We will end up with two categories of samples:
  • convicted
  • not convicted (obviously)

Do some analyses to enable you to categorize from an unlabeled sample.

<cyn> Imagine how useful that could be!</cyn>

I think some people are overwrought about their concerns.

Yes, I am.

CC.

Re:Cluster and Classify ... (2, Informative)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005598)

We will end up with two categories of samples:

If you can ever find Walk Kelly's Pogo strips from the 70's, he nails Agnew for this very line of logic. Guess who isn't the one locked up in the jail? It is a bit like Nixon, again, isn't it?

Re:Cluster and Classify ... (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005744)

If you can ever find Walk Kelly's Pogo strips from the 70's, ...

Well, now you gave me something to chew on ...

CC.de

Re:Cluster and Classify ... (2, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005944)

Well, now you gave me something to chew on ...

They've been reprinted a number of times in books. The sequence appears in The Impollutable Pogo:

Hyena (Spiro T. Agnew): "Lawnorder will prevail!
I fine you another thousand, and remand you to the custody of your cell."
Churchy LaFemm: "How about the Bill of Rights?"
Howland Owl: "Shh... You can pay that later."
Kelly, Impollutable Pogo , 106 (1970)

Re:Cluster and Classify ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12005619)

And a third group
  • convicted even _before_ they commit the crime

If they have genes that indicate a likely aggressive personality, we can convict them even before they're perform the evil act.

Re:Cluster and Classify ... (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005703)

Eugenics went out of fashion post-WWII.

Re:Cluster and Classify ... (2)

Frodo Crockett (861942) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005706)

If they have genes that indicate a likely aggressive personality, we can convict them even before they're perform the evil act.

That would be almost everyone with a Y chromosome...

Now? (1)

fembots (753724) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005572)

With the "laws" nowadays, if someone wants her DNA samples removed from the record, just respect her rights and remove it, but not before passing a DNA Remover ACT 2005 which allows DNA Security Centre to keep a copy of the samples and flag that person.

It's like everybody's allowed to wear bulletproof vest, just don't be the only survivor in a drive by shooting.

How about this for logic... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005764)

It's like everybody's allowed to wear bulletproof vest, just don't be the only survivor in a drive by shooting.

"If you let us keep your DNA on file, we can use it to prove you are innocent, further if you ever go missing we can us it to trace you if you leave a trail. So it's a good thing, you see?

Re:Now? (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005924)

to keep a copy of the samples and flag that person ...

... equiv(convicted).

This is why nanotechnology is a good thing. It will enable you to remanufacture your layout.

CC.

The solution is easy (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12005578)

Clone the innocent people. Eventually the ratio of innocent to guilty people will be through the roof, OMG.

Re:The solution is easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12005739)

Dammit, beaten to the stupid joke. I fail it.

What do to with innocent people's DNA (5, Funny)

pHatidic (163975) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005580)

We keep their DNA sample, and then plant some at the crime scene the next time we kill someone. Wow that was the easiest ask slashdot ever.

Re:What do to with innocent people's DNA (1)

HTTP Error 403 403.9 (628865) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005694)

Mark Furman?

Yes yes... (1)

mindstormpt (728974) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005581)

You'd better worry, someonw might clone your friend. Let the damn record be, that way if he commits a sexual offense in the future he might be caught.

I shall use it to create (5, Funny)

darth_MALL (657218) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005582)

A Grand Army Of the Republic!

No bad can come of that...right?

It's just data... (5, Interesting)

zecg (521666) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005584)

I don't think it's really about samples - the man hardly needs his skinflakes or his hair bits back and he sheds it all around anyway. As for the data it represents? Why, "we" keep it forever, of course. He is just the first in line, I'm willing to bet that within 20 years "we" will have a database of DNA samples from all "our" citizens - or whoever accepts my bet wins my slightly weathered tinfoil hat.

This will never fly (3, Insightful)

John Seminal (698722) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005587)

'In California, police will be able in 2008 to take DNA samples from anyone arrested for a felony, whether the person is convicted or not, under a law approved by voters in November.

There is something called the 5th amendment, protection against self incrimination.

Here it is, in case people forgot:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Re:This will never fly (3, Insightful)

xlr8ed (726203) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005631)

Under your reasoning, fingerprints would be allowed either and they have been doing that for, what 50+ years

Re:This will never fly (4, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005664)

This obviously doesn't apply to having one'spicture taken and being fingerprinted as that happens to everybody who get arrested, felon or not.

How is DNA any different?

the constitution is toilet paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12005731)


dont you watch the news?, guantanamo bay, patriot act , illegal wars the list of abuses just goes on and on
the constitution aint worth the paper its printed on anymore, you can of course challenge that but you better have deep pockets

Re:the constitution is toilet paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12005902)

Show me where in the consititution privacy is addressed. Oh, what? You can't? That's because it DOESN'T. ANYWHERE.

Cancel health insurance before it costs too much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12005592)

If we can predict diseases, we could cancel people from the national health care system before it costs the system too much.

Re:Cancel health insurance before it costs too muc (2)

xanthines-R-yummy (635710) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005780)

I realize your comment was toungue-in-cheek, but on a serious note: if only it were that simple. Data extraceted from DNA only represents potential outcomes in many instances. The genome is often called a blueprint but as any architecht knows, there's a huge potential for the finished product to have alterations. It's the same way with DNA. The emerging fields (maybe it's already emerged?) of proteomics [wikipedia.org] seems more likely to predict actual outcomes, like in this study. [sciencedirect.com] Sorry, but I think most you will have to pay to read the entire article.

All your base pairs..... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12005595)

purges self from gene pool before making stupid joke &&&[NO CARRIER]

Been doing it for awhile (4, Insightful)

lecithin (745575) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005604)

Usually just being arrested means that you will be fingerprinted and your picture taken.

Isn't this pretty much the same thing?

Re:Been doing it for awhile (2, Interesting)

Eternally optimistic (822953) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005673)

Getting a driver license gets you fingerprinted and yur picture taken in many places, including California. Yes, we will keep these things forever, just in case.

Re:Been doing it for awhile (2, Interesting)

idlake (850372) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005818)

That's one fingerprint. It helps you verify that a cooperative person actually the license holder. However, it is of little use for forensic purposes.

Re:Been doing it for awhile (4, Insightful)

John Seminal (698722) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005699)

Usually just being arrested means that you will be fingerprinted and your picture taken. Isn't this pretty much the same thing?

Here is the difference. If someone steals a database of fingerprints, what can they do with that? But if someone steals a database of DNA, and for example an insurance company gets it, can you gaurentee they won't have different rates just based on the genes you are born with. And what if they discover that gene X, Y, and Z found together cause a 25% increased chance the person with those genes will be a murderer. Do we want a society, where just being born with certain genes is enough to warrent government keeping tabs on that person? I know, I know, if it is for public saftey, it must be okay. Just like major cities are installing 1000's of camera's on streets to keep track of what is going on. And California banned the .50 caliber rifle, which has never been used in a crime that I can think of (although getting a handgun is easier and used in more crimes). It seems to me, that in an attempt to make society more "safe", we are making society more ripe for some dictator to take control. I know, I must be wearing a tin foil hat, because coup's have never happened. I for one completely trust people with power not to get corrupted, ever.

Re:Been doing it for awhile (2, Funny)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005917)

Cali banned the .50? :oops:
-nB

Re:Been doing it for awhile (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12005943)

Do we want a society, where just being born with certain genes is enough to warrent government keeping tabs on that person?

In pretty much every society your genes alraedy make a big difference. In certain parts of North America, for instance, those of us with dark skin or certain "looks" are more readily suspected of crimes than others. The new advances in DNA will just make this discrimination more applicable to white people as well. Maybe that's a good thing, it'll make the existing problem much more obvious.

Re:Been doing it for awhile (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005720)

My fingerprints and picture can't be used to determine if I have a greater chance of getting heart disease, cancer, etc. Could my DNA be used to deny me healthcare, insurance, etc?

Re:Been doing it for awhile (5, Insightful)

Florian Weimer (88405) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005754)

Usually just being arrested means that you will be fingerprinted and your picture taken. Isn't this pretty much the same thing?

It depends. A regular DNA fingerprint doesn't really reveal anything about your genetic disposition, so it's not such a big problem. However, it's not clear if DNA fingerprinting is as resistant to collisions as it is generally perceived to be. It's fine if you match one sample against a few hundred suspects connected with the case; it's very unlikely that there is a false positive. But if you match thousands of samples a day against a database of millions of completely unrelated DNA fingerprinters, the odds of a false positive increase significantly.

DNA is largely similar for close relatives (5, Interesting)

aralin (107264) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005795)

Here is a big difference. While your kids are going to have totally different fingerprints and even pictures, their DNA to you will be largely similar. So by taking your DNA, you are putting your kids and your relatives in the database as well. If there is a partial match with someone in the database, they will just go after all his relatives and eventually find the right one. They just got a recent mass murder case solved when a daughter of a suspect volunteered to give a DNA sample, when he refused.

Re:Been doing it for awhile (1)

blackpaw (240313) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005799)

Yes it is. I have no problem with law enforcement keeping DNA, so long as they are the only ones with access to it. That sort of thing is incredibly useful for solving crimes.

I do have a problem with insurance companies et al keeping dna.

DNA is hushed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12005605)

DNA from innocent people should be kept on file incase the person ever commits a crime. Then DNA from the crime scene can be matched.

In fact, all newborns should have their DNA put on record.

That way investigating crimes in the future will be a piece of cake.

Re:DNA is hushed (2, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005635)

DNA from innocent people should be kept on file incase the person ever commits a crime. Then DNA from the crime scene can be matched. In fact, all newborns should have their DNA put on record. That way investigating crimes in the future will be a piece of cake.

I've always admired you, your clever way with words and such. You're my hero! Can you please send me a lock of your hair?

Re:DNA is hushed (1)

TWX (665546) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005862)

I've always admired you, your clever way with words and such. You're my hero! Can you please send me a lock of your hair?


You bring up a good point in an interesting way. We already don't investigate and prosecute crime that evidence exists for, in everything from auto theft to home burglary. We have tools to handle these and at least make some kind of dent in the statistics, but we don't. Collecting samples of everyone to use to match to a scene doesn't help if the investigators don't bother to do real police work, and if the perpetrator of a crime is smart enough to minimize the amount of evidence of his presence. It's amazing what new clothes, a hat or hair net, and thoroughly bathing beforehand can do to leave no useful evidence.

Disposition of the DNA (1)

nonother (845183) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005613)

What will be the disposition of the DNA of the innocent?

Just basing this on everything our government has done both in the past and quite recently, the DNA will probably always be kept on record. I can't help being a pessimist about this...it's just too easy.

Illegal search and seizure (1)

mollog (841386) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005618)

Seems like what Kalifornia is proposing is unconstitutional. Althought there is no 'right to privacy', there is a right to protection from government searchs. I aggree that people are often overreacting to privacy concerns, I also think we need to push back at government intrusion into our private affairs. Unfortunately, the current political environment is one of intrusion, invasion, interference. The eventual solution to the issue will be political, not lega.

LOLOLO YUO USED K NOT C LOLOMG&[NO CARIAR] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12005640)

Re:Illegal search and seizure (2, Informative)

3waygeek (58990) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005733)

Actually, the California state constitution specifically lists a right to privacy [ca.gov] -- it's in the second sentence of the document.

No one is innocent. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12005621)

Everyone on the planet is judged almost every day on their DNA. Are you goodlooking? Are you smart? Are you crafty? Are you tall?

Knowing the actual sequence is irrelevent.

The sequnce of your genes and the resulting expression of these genes has already defined you.

fingerprints? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12005623)

what do they do about fingerprints right now? Fingerprints and DNA at least to the police seems very related.

Why not one-way hash for DNA DB? (5, Insightful)

DoctoRoR (865873) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005629)

It seems like much of the angst over a national DNA database is the potential misuse of the sequences, e.g. raising insurance rates or selecting against carriers of X. If the goal of criminal DNA databases is to match samples from crime scenes, why not use a one-way hash of each DNA fragment? That way, the actual DNA sequence wouldn't be kept. The hash could be constructed after removing common sequences, but I'm probably missing something aside from sequencing issues (which should be more automated in future). And this doesn't address larger issues on DNA matches...

Re:Why not one-way hash for DNA DB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12005656)

You mean, like hash collisions resulting in false positives?

Problem is matches aren't always exact (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005788)

Maybe the sample from the crime scene is degraded so you can say it was "probably" this person (like 1 in 10,000) but not certianly. Also you can match within families. You run DNA and discover it isn't person X's DNA, but a female relitive, etc.

So a hash would only be useful for dead on matches. Now maybe we decide that's all that the police should have, but you can see why they'd argue for more the orignals, as they are more useful.

Re:Why not one-way hash for DNA DB? (1)

cmowire (254489) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005861)

Because prosecutors already have a glut of information.

The problem is, you can now have a case with no smoking gun, no confession, but a LOT of circumstantial evidence, people WANT to believe that the person in question is guilty. At the very least, somebody's good name is ruined.

The ability to take random samples of available genetic material (the amount required goes down over time, of course) from a place doesn't help you solve a case, it just adds some cold cases.

It all goes down to the philosophy of "innocent until proven guilty", really. Saying that somebody shouldn't have a problem about it is to say that we should all walk around with TV cameras attatched to our bodies.

What people are asking... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12005647)

Hey Timmy, where's the next Roland story? Didn't get you pay off? No blow job today? Pathetic.

BTK ? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12005654)


is that a new burger from burger king ?

This is what will happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12005665)

1. Innocent's DNA captured and catalogued.

2. Hacker / Businessman breaks in and takes samples.

3. DNA analysis gives great blackmail material.

4. PROFIT!!!!!

Privacy (1, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005689)

And what about our right against self-incrimination, protected by the 5th Amendment? Why is only our cerebellum protected? Why can we be compelled to give involutnary testimony by divulting DNA, possibly our most private info, short of our thoughts? If they can get our DNA, can't they get a MRI scan, while they ask us questions? Will they stop when they learn to read them?

Sadly, an appropriate quote (4, Insightful)

Stiletto (12066) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005691)

"To imagine the future, imagine a boot stepping on a human face -- forever."

-George Orwell

Mod me to hell and back... (2, Interesting)

Unloaded (716598) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005696)

"What will be the disposition of the DNA of the innocent?"

Wait, let me guess. Same as the disposition of the photographs and fingerprints of the innocent?

I don't get it. How is the potential for abuse any higher just because the sample is DNA? To me, the benefits of being able to solve a years old case based on DNA samples outweighs the risks of abuse within the system. Lets give the cops the tools they need to put the crooks away. Just make sure there are no loopholes in the law that would allow the government, as well as insurance companies and the like to access and use the results to discriminate against people.

Re:Mod me to hell and back... (1)

cmowire (254489) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005814)

Because any law can be changed later.

Information that shouldn't be kept... shouldn't be kept. Not protected by a law that can be changed later or stored based on the assurances of somebody who can't even be bothered to read it that there aren't any loopholes or reinterpreted by a court of law... stuff like that.

And it just increases the amount of available circumstantial evidence. Sure a semen sample or whatnot will be hard to argue... but if you are picking up skin cells and sequencing them, things can get a little dangerously circumstantial.

Re:Mod me to hell and back... (4, Insightful)

John Seminal (698722) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005870)

I don't get it. How is the potential for abuse any higher just because the sample is DNA? To me, the benefits of being able to solve a years old case based on DNA samples outweighs the risks of abuse within the system. Lets give the cops the tools they need to put the crooks away.

The police have pleanty of tools to solve crimes. They don't need any more. It comes down to one thing. Either we are a free and open society, or we become a police state. If we make the police so powerful, that the People can no longer fight back if the cause ever comes that they need to, what will we be? Will we be no more able to fight for our own freedom than Iraqi people could fight for theirs under a dictator? The reason we limit the power police have is the same reason we limit the power politicians have. It is to protect against the over ambitious, the Joseph McCarthy's of the world. The easier it is for a group to take control of a society, the more likely they will do so. All the police camera's in larger cities, put in place to fight "the war on terror" do nothing but track citizens, not terrorists. DNA is one more way of keeping tabs on people.

I have one question. How would history be different if DNA technology was avilable in the 1950's, and if all black people were forced to submit DNA. Then government decided to do more than just bug telephones and listen in. The possibilities for abuse are too great.

Re:Mod me to hell and back... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12005926)

Please tell us how history would have been different, because I can't see it making any difference. The government already knew who black people were because they were *black*. They didn't need to use DNA to track them down.

Clone Them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12005714)

We can use this DNA to create a super-race of people who aren't guilty of crimes!

Re:Clone Them (4, Funny)

Sneftel (15416) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005755)

We can use this DNA to create a super-race of people who aren't guilty of crimes!

Close.... a super-race of people who aren't guilty of crimes, but are really suspicious-looking.

Nothing, really. (2, Insightful)

simetra (155655) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005722)

If you're innocent, no problem.

You leave your fingerprints everywhere. You don't cry like a baby about people having access to your fingerprints. You likewise leave bits of DNA all over the place (ala Gattica).

Please show me where we are guaranteed the right to total annonymity (sp?) all the time everywhere. Better yet, retroactive guaranteed annonymity always everywhere all the stinking time!!! It doesn't exist. It's a paranoid pre-conception!



Re:Nothing, really. (1)

SteroidMan (782859) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005883)

Also tell me why my taxes fund the collection of data on innocent people. This is a costly process, and rife with potential for abuse. Why would I want my government to record this information?

Re:Nothing, really. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12005957)

If we leave them all over the place, then police don't have to force us to give samples, now, do they? They can bloody well collect my fingerprints and DNA from a public place if they want it so badly.

Who else gets to access it? (1)

C3ntaur (642283) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005724)

I'm more concerned about the potential for abuse by outsiders than by the law enforcement authorities. You can't tell my predisposition to an illness or disorder from my fingerprints, but you certainly can from my DNA. How long will it be before health/life insurers and employers bribe the right politicians and get access to this stuff -- probably under the guise of "background checks" or some similar nonsense?

Re:Who else gets to access it? (2)

Mabelyne (704976) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005920)

In Canada, when a DNA sample is collected regarding a particular case, said sample can only ever be used in that case. It does not go to a national repository to be held just in case it may be needed in another case at some some future point in time. Sounds like the US needs to get with the times.

DNA instead of passwords. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12005725)

How about using it to log on and withdraw money from ATM machines. Hold your finger up to the needle at the ATM machine nto withdraw your money. Sounds like the ultimate biometric authentication system.

others may have the same DNA (0)

r00t (33219) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005925)

What about my evil twin?

What Will We Do With Innocent People's DNA? (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005728)

We could merge lots of innocent people, and create a super-innocent embryo. I assume that the baby would grow up to be a complete do-gooder, something like Clark Kent.

If you don't plan to commit a crime (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12005732)

then what's the big deal? They ought to arrest him for conspiracy to commit a crime.

there are no innocents (2, Interesting)

10am-bedtime (11106) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005745)

if the people have given the state the right to spy on them, tag them, track, divide and thus conquer them, then the people have lost their innocence. it will be difficult to find it again because corruption doesn't kill innocence, it defaces it and leaves it the subject of mockery. in this way, the mean spirited ride the tides of entropy over their and in fact all unborn children.

can corruption be eased-off, or must it be broken?

Fingerprints? (1)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005749)

How exactly is this any different than fingerprints except being a heck of a lot more accurate? A lot of our fingerprints are already in databases and they're scanned by AFIS every day. They're a heck of a lot less accurate than a DNA sample would be at ruling you out as a suspect. What exactly are people afraid of, that they can't commit a crime anymore and get away with it?

innocent? (4, Interesting)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005752)

What will be the disposition of the DNA of the innocent?

"No one is innocent!" --Agent Rogersz, Repo Man

This may scare the tinfoil hat crowd, but.... (0)

mjh49746 (807327) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005759)

....I think they ought to just keep the DNA data. I simply don't see the perceived threat here. Besides, if I were to go 'splat' somewhere or die in a horrible way, I'd want to be identified so that my family would have closure and piece of mind.

The DNA isn't the question here... (3, Insightful)

the_skywise (189793) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005761)

The violation is that the guy had his door busted down, had his house searched and DNA taken and the police never told him WHY he was a suspect.

That the DNA didn't "solve" the case was inconsequential because the DNA did helpe the police confirm who the guy was.

The question that should be asked here is not "Should the police be able to take samples of your DNA when you're arrested?" No brainer, you can already take fingerprints.

The bigger question here is: Can the police KEEP your DNA on profile *AND* can they keep the results of what they found while searching your house?

What if they found illegally downloaded music in his house? Could he be tried for that? Should those records be kept from the first search?

DNA aside (and IANAL) the current law is yes and yes.

Re:The DNA isn't the question here... (1)

chiph (523845) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005937)

What if they found illegally downloaded music in his house? Could he be tried for that? Should those records be kept from the first search?

Live your life in a transparent manner, and you have nothing to fear, Citizen.

We're not as bad as the UK currently is -- but America is definitely on the road to becoming the observation nation.

There are two solutions for this: significant cultural change (John Q Public saying "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!"), or live your life as if it were in a glass house, and everyone can see everything you do.

Chip H.

Re:The DNA isn't the question here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12005955)

No, they can only take what is in the scope of the search warrant else they must refile or ammend that warrant by a judges order to include the newly found music.

Better spam targeting? (1)

spywarearcata.com (841806) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005770)

With a lot of DNA samples in vulnerable databases, I guess the most probable outcome will be better demographic targeting of genital enhancement spam.

Hollywood is in California, right? (1)

iNatrix (869632) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005771)

Haven't these people seen GATTACA?

Replace Me ~@! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12005781)

Obvious Use:

Use DNA to artificially grow clones to replace rabel-rousers with, thus ending any civil disobedience.

DUH!!!

You Are All Guilty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12005787)

What will be the disposition of the DNA of the innocent?

No problem, you're all guilty of something. We've been passing laws left and right to be assured of that. Now shut up, stand in line, work hard, take your beatings when ordered. Don't ask questions. Don't organize yourselves. Continue to hate each other over trivial things, and by all means let us continue to profit from your misery.

This is /., so... (0, Troll)

agraupe (769778) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005798)

Paranoia must take over! We must all abandon common sense, because the government is clearly trying to frame us. If someone commits a murder or rape, or other major crime, why should we not be able to find them quickly? Seriously, what is the government going to do with your DNA that's so troublesome? If a loved one were killed, kidnapped, or raped, wouldn't you like to know that the responsible person can be identified with great haste?

Tin foil hat time... (1)

SteroidMan (782859) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005801)

For those that aren't disturbed by this. Consider the president of the Ukraine, Yushenko. What if instead of using Dioxin, they created a virus tailor made to attack his DNA?

What if they made all World Bank protestors sick?

If the government has access and control over our DNA they can use that data against us.

Innocent (1)

denissmith (31123) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005803)

What makes you think they're innocent?:-)

Armed Forces Members Probably In Same Boat (4, Interesting)

Goo.cc (687626) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005810)

While I was in the US Navy, they started a DNA cataloging program, which they claimed was only intended to help identify people in the case of death. They claimed that the information would never be shared and would be discarded after discharge.

It has been 8 years since I was discharged. Want to bet that my information is available to law enforcement, even though I have never been convicted or accused of a crime?

It's going to be a long time... (5, Insightful)

Jack Johnson (836341) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005824)

"If you're innocent, you have nothing to worry about." That line has become thouroughly entrenched in our society. Any and everything can be justified to the average american with that phrase.

In Michigan (3, Informative)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005825)

Everyone convicted of a felony has to give a DNA sample before sentencing.

when the cloning is complete (1)

dmf415 (218827) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005834)

Once cloned, you'd have to figure out how to get your brain in your newly cloned body. That would be cool if you broke a bone, or dislocated your knee.

As on vulcan so below (2, Funny)

ishtari (860753) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005857)

We should do as the vulcan, sample DNA on birth and be done with it! Like, then someone in the future could hack the central DNADB and clone 10,000 J. Michael Straczynski and we could finally get some quality television! A vote for mandatory DNA sampling IS a vote for the future!

Too Many Worries To Be Effective (1)

Surak_Prime (160061) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005874)

I'm as concerned about protecting civil liberties as anyone, but sometimes it seems like we're throwing the baby out with the bathwater, arguing too many angles. I understand the whole "if I'm not doing anything wrong I have nothing to hide" fallacy, but folks, let's let the authorities have the DNA, anyway. As long as we are VIGILANT about the court system and the way they use the DNA, who cares that they have it - other than that it may make their jobs easier.

No system of law enforcement is EVER perfect. The idea is to make it operate as well as POSSIBLE. And if they have my DNA on file, that's just as likely to mean they can eliminate me as a suspect as it is to mean they declare me one....

Same law in the UK (3, Interesting)

UpnAtom (551727) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005876)

Blair is also trying to compulsorily fingerprint everyone and tie together ALL the computerised data held on people through a unique National Identity Number.

Oh, he's also going to track our daily movements through automatic CCTV facial recognition & the ID Card audit trail.

This law has been passed by House of Commons and is currently being debated in the House of Lords. Unless the Lords block it, I'm emigrating somewhere less Orwellian. Anyone want to swap citizenship? I'm serious...

Data never goes away (5, Interesting)

billstewart (78916) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005890)

Data never goes away once it's collected. (That doesn't count Murphy's Law of course - data you really want goes away quite easily.) Computer storage is cheap, and keeps becoming radically cheaper. Software and system administration / management costs aren't cheap, and don't get cheaper, and systems that weren't explicitly designed to get rid of data mean that expunging data is typically an expensive unreliable manual process. And that's just the costs of expunging the data in the active database - that doesn't count hunting through backup tapes, etc. New software and applications, on the other hand, can often import data from existing systems (again, minus the Murphy's Law issues), and when they do so, they usually aren't very good about maintaining any constraints on usage of the data, and usually aren't very good about backtracking if you want to find out who's had access to the data or get them to erase it.

All of this means that any law or policy that increases data collection is not only dangerous, but the data usually gets used for other things beyond the original purpose - information *does* want to be free. Anything that hangs an unique identifier on data, such as a National ID Card Number (or SSN, or SIN, or driver's license number), makes it easy for data to be imported into other systems and aggregated together. Anything that hangs a non-unique ID onto something, like a firstname+lastname, increases the chances that data will be imported into other systems incorrectly, combining your data with known criminal SameFirstInitial+DifferentMiddleInitial+SimilarLas tname who lives in a different city. In both cases, you'll never get the data expunged.

On the other hand, Moore's Law also means that applications that used to be unthinkable are now routine. When mainframes costs tens of millions of dollars and needed to be fed punchcards and stored stuff on magtape, writing database applications took a couple of years and a large budget, so only critical applications that could be used by lots of people got written. These days, a cheap desktop computer can hold lots more data, and any random civil servant can run a Spreadsheet query or simple fill-out-the-form database application for anything they feel like, such as tracking their ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend's phone bills. And most of that data could really fit in a pocket-computer as well, so next year that same civil servant or telemarketer can take a picture of your face or license plate using their camera-phone and look it up for some arbitrary reason (currently it takes a laptop for the license-plate lookup, and it's being done to nail parking ticket non-payers.)

I'm just wondering if criminals will use a DNA (4, Interesting)

multiplexo (27356) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005918)

bomb in the future to obscure evidence. You get some blood plasma, or some other fluid that contains a lot of DNA, get samples from different people, mix it up, put it in a bottle with an M-80 taped to it and set it off at the crime scene. Voila, the police end up with so many DNA fragments that there's no way they can tell who did the crime.

If you don't want to use an M80 just get a spritzer bottle full of some DNA containing fluid and spray it everywhere all over a crime scene. I wonder if you could extract DNA sequences from barber shop cuttings and do this?

Innocent...UNTIL (3, Insightful)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005923)

The DNA of innocent people will almost certainly end up in the same database as the felons...maybe with a flag that this individual has not YET been charged with a crime...but being in the database itself will be something of a "lite" suspicious attribute.

We are moving towards a police state, and society has overwhelmingly chosen "safety" over privacy, liberty, and freedom. It is only a matter of time before the govt requires all residents and citizens to be in such databases.

Expunge records! (1)

redelm (54142) | more than 9 years ago | (#12005934)

I'm a bit surprised that as developed a state as California doesn't have laws governing expungement of non-conviction arrests. An arrest is not a safeguarded official act, so ought to be completely undoable.

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