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US Set on Expansion of Security DNA Collection

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the i-keep-my-dna-in-my-cells-thankyouverymuch dept.

Biotech 162

An anonymous reader dropped us a link to this New York Times article about a 'vast expansion' of DNA sampling here in the US. A little-noticed rider to the January 2006 renewal of the 'Violence Against Women Act' allows government agencies to collect DNA samples from any individual arrested by federal authorities, and from every illegal immigrant held for any length of time by US agents. The goal is to make DNA collection as routine a part of detainment as fingerprinting and photography. Privacy experts and immigrant rights groups are decrying this initiative already. Many are also skeptical of lab throughput, as FBI analysts indicate this may increase intake by as much as a million samples per year. There is already a backlog of 150,000 samples waiting to be entered into the agency's database.

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This has been done for a while over here. (5, Informative)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 7 years ago | (#17887954)

For some time now, anyone arrested for any offence in the UK gets DNA samples taken and added to a national database. These samples are not destroyed nor are the records deleted even if you are released without charge, or found not guilty. There are now some 3.4 million samples on record, out of a country of some 60 million.

Of course, the innocent have nothing to fear from this. We Love Big Blair.

Re:This has been done for a while over here. (1, Funny)

ISoldMyLowIdOnEbay (802697) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888050)

With any luck, Big Blair himself will get added to the database shortly...after all, his close friends have and he wouldn't want to be left out...

Re:This has been done for a while over here. (2, Insightful)

bri2000 (931484) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888204)

Those who have actually been arrested (Lord Levy et al) should already have been added. It always amuses me how the politicians give the police their unconditional support when they're, for example, pumping bullets into some guy's head in down in Stockwell tube station but start whining about the presumption of innocence and police heavy handedness the moment these powers start being used to investigate the politicians' own criminal behaviour.

Re:This has been done for a while over here. (1)

Brian Ribbon (986353) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888124)

Doesn't your government also fingerprint children in schools, as if they're potential criminals? The automatic assumption of guilt and criminal intent is incredible at the moment.

Re:This has been done for a while over here. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17888194)

Yes they do. In many schools you are fingerprinted to access
the library and school meals, and this is done without
the consent of (or even consultation with) parents.

Let the demise of freedom in the UK be a salutory warning
to others around the world. It is only the inactivity of
my stupid stupid countrymen that has allowed this nighmare
to arise.

Re:This has been done for a while over here. (0)

aslate (675607) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888418)

Sorry, what? I've never heard of such a scheme. The closest i've got is an ID swipe card for Uni with my photo on. It allows me access to labs, the Department of Computing, library, gym and my halls. No fingerprints or DNA though.

Re:This has been done for a while over here. (3, Informative)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888518)

I suppose you're referring to this [yorkpress.co.uk] , which affected eleven schools in a single city, and like I posted elsewhere [reddit.com] :

Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show 11 schools in the city are using personal biometric data to identify pupils, but one said today they had suspended the practice, after a local politician voiced concerns.

A law passed by the government gave information on this to the public, and a politician acted on his constituents' behalves to stop it from continuing. Sure, it's a dumb move, but it's a dumb move that's out in the open and in the process of being corrected, and that is happening because in this case the political process is working properly.

So no, our government doesn't fingerprint children in schools, unless you count one city where it was tried and rejected by the public and politicians alike.

The UK has gone to shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17888130)

If I'm arrested for anything, I'd be refusing the DNA sample and taking it through the courts. It appears that nobody has questioned the right of the police to store DNA indefinitely. Don't they also take DNA swabs from children at birth now?

Re:This has been done for a while over here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17888164)

"For some time now, anyone arrested for any offence in the UK gets DNA samples taken and added to a national database."

For some time now certian parts of the UK police have taken DNA samples from anyone they want regardless of the law, I am talking about before and after the law regarding arrest.

You don't have to be arrested :

As a student whilst staying in england-shire I was in a shared house with 4 other students. When everyone was out one night it got burgled. The theives made off with many things and made a mess. Just before we went out that night I gave myself a hair-cut with my shaver, did this over an upside down poster on the floor.

We informed the police. They came and checked the place out and told us to fix the house, the theives had damaged a door breaking in etc.

Then "we" had to go to the police station and "we" were all forced to give DNA samples under threat of arrest. Non of us were arrested.

The poster I had left on the floor had a perfect footprint on it so I gave it to the police.

A week later I was staying in on the Friday night whilst everyone was out on the booze. I had a we smoke to myself and put the lights out. 9pm and I was just falling asleep on the couch next to the kitchen door and BOOOOM! the door landed on top of me and about 3 folk burst in the room then ran through the house and out the front door. They obviously did not realise there was someone in at the time and had come back to rob the place again.

I called the police again, they did nothing except check the house.

next week it is the middle of the day, I am in the kitchen and I see a hand comming in the little top window trying to open it further...

Finaly same week, myself and freind watch from my bedroom the lads form the next house kick in our back gate.

When the police came to question them none of them knew that myself and my freind saw and heard what the police siad to the two lads loitering next to our gate, none of them knew because we were 40ft above them looking down listening to everything.

The police done nothing, not a darn thing.

Not all areas are like this but some are.

Re:This has been done for a while over here. (0)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888940)

I no longer live in the UK but have been sad to see some of the recent chanages especially with regards to education in schools.

You know that schools in the UK are going to start teaching "Intelligent Design" as part of religious education classes? And that, as part of the information technology course, a substatial part of it is about software piracy that looks as if it was written by Microsoft? In many respects the UK is changing for the worst faster than the USA.

dna is cool (5, Insightful)

operato (782224) | more than 7 years ago | (#17887958)

i don't think keeping a dna database is much a problem. people just fear that the government would abuse this system and possibly set people up and what not. it just shows people don't trust democracy any more and that they definitely don't trust the people that they voted into power.

Re:dna is cool (5, Insightful)

StuckInSyrup (745480) | more than 7 years ago | (#17887994)

I live in a post-communist state. I believe in democracy. I allready learned not to fear the governement, but I definitely don't trust them.

Re:dna is cool (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888494)

It won't be long before you find you've swapped one dictatorship for another.

Re:dna is cool (5, Insightful)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888014)

Another aspect is that people do not necessarily trust the police.

DNA gives them a device with which they can point at you and say: "He did it, his DNA was found on the scene". How are you going to disprove that? Perhaps you visited in the past, perhaps not at all. Maybe the wind blew a hair in.

Now suddenly, everyone with his or her DNA in the database is a suspect. Irrespective of the likelihood that you were in the area, otherwise engaged, or involved with the subject of the crime. Your status has been instantly degraded from "free citizen" to "potential suspect in ALL crimes".

Moreover, everyone with his or her DNA NOT in the database is much less a suspect. Think about that for a while.

A DNA test is a "closest match" test, and is only right about 99% of the time. People forget that, juries especially.

B.

Mod Parent Up (4, Interesting)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888068)

DNA is far from perfect. Semen in a rape case, victims blood on murderers clothes, those are workable applications. But when you hoover a crimescene and test everything, suddenly people with even multiple degrees of seperation become suspects. You may not have commited the murder, but your eyelash was found on the victim. It fell onto that guys shoulder that you bumped into on the street. He's the murderer.

Re:Mod Parent Up (2)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888186)

DNA is far from perfect. Semen in a rape case, victims blood on murderers clothes, those are workable applications. But when you hoover a crimescene and test everything, suddenly people with even multiple degrees of seperation become suspects. You may not have commited the murder, but your eyelash was found on the victim. It fell onto that guys shoulder that you bumped into on the street. He's the murderer.

DNA evidence is like any tool: you can use it the right way, and you can use it the wrong way. Convincing someone based on an eyelash - and nothing more - is clearly misuse of DNA (by an incompetent DA and lazy jury). But finding an eyelash and using that as a lead, gathering further evidence that proves or disproves a suspect's innocence, is perfectly fine.

Re:Mod Parent Up (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17888334)

"Semen in a rape case, victims blood on murderers clothes, those are workable applications"

True. But there still is context to consider even in these cases. All you have to do is look at the Duke rape case to see what race, rape, and DNA did or did not do. "Workable applications" means absolutely nothing to prosecutors these days; the people collecting this database currently and historically are there to rip apart civil rights, not enforce them.

Further, juries do not tend to deliberate all that intelligently, as DNA is often seen as *the* magic bullet (or eraser). See, DNA has been built up as some "one in a billion" sort of scheme with the allele counts and comparisons, yet no one did a full blown study to see if this was actually true (it is largely based on mathematical models). When Arizona did some comparisons on their prisoners database, they found *3* matches within that limited prison population that, well, if the probabilities were to be believed, was impossible on a 10 allele comparison. Yet there it was.

"But when you hoover a crimescene and test everything, suddenly people with even multiple degrees of seperation become suspects."

Yup. Police, law enforcement, and DAs don't give a shit about this. Again, note that these are the ones that building this damn database. The way they think is to hoover, then eliminate. If you can't explain being there, tough, you're a suspect; your eyelash that fell off onto a passerby is merely evidence that you were in the vicinity--hence you are deemd a "person of interest" or suspect.

And you better believe, that by extension, if you come close enough to a relative that may have been there instead, they will come for you and your family.

btw, in a limited suspect pool, according to the models, you can lift enough DNA from fingerprints, according to a Science article circa 1996/97. At least that study had it right; they went from a known and firmly identified suspect pool (not a hypothetical population) and worked to figure out.

Finally, no one seems to be bringing up the 2 big problems here--(1) overbearing "victim" rights legislation, as victims rights has been used repeated to undermine the judicial system (I won't go into this further); (2)
they don't need to build an entire database of the population in order for this to screen for the *entire* population. They merely need to get enough. Because DNA is inherited, they can build cases merely on close enough matches. Say an uncle is in jail, his DNA is on record, then another crime is committed--his family are now considered suspects. If they know geneology, they can roughly figure out when descendants may carry, so your grandfather's DNA on record who protested the war 25 years ago and mother's brother who got caught pissing in public and is a registered sex offender for indecent exposure who's DNA is on file now is enough to bring up their grandson/nephew.

Many people will say this does not present a problem at all still--well, certain racial minorities are already targeted by police for the mere color of their skin or ethnic background; this puts their entire lineage under increased scrutiny, and hallmarks back to the days when your fathers crimes were your crimes as well. DNA profiling sets aside the entire swath of your actual known or evidenced behavior, and makes your blood relations your criminal background. (Not to mention, as already noted above, that such information as shown in the Arizona case may be simply wrong.)

Anyone who wants a better and brief summary of some of these issues, there was a 1 or 2 page article in the December 2006 Scientific American that covered the impact of wider DNA profiling.

Re:dna is cool (1)

karot (26201) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888138)

A DNA test is a "closest match" test, and is only right about 99% of the time.

AFAIK, there are several levels of DNA profiling possible, the simplest, quickest and cheapest provide only a one in a few thousand chance of a duplication. The most expensive, complex and slowest can provide a one in several million chance of a false positive.

All of these tests are better than 99% certain because the labs will do more than just let a "closest match" search convict a criminal. They will provide a "decode" of the various samples to the court or the police, and there will be a statement of how certain (or not) the match is.

For the record, IANA Forensic Scientist :)

Re:dna is cool (2, Interesting)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 7 years ago | (#17889952)

Polymorphism typing can provide you with ANY level of certainty you want. Typing each one will give you 50% certainty or better... so even assuming non-Mendelian distribution for some of them, if you sequence enough of them, you'll get your answer to the 1^-10 certainty.

But again, there may not be enough material on, say, a single hair follicle, to do all these tests... which is why using it on blood and semen samples is much more accurate.

But I agree with grandparent - while a DNA sample database isn't necessarily a bad thing theoretically, it is a huge violation of privacy practically-speaking.

Re:dna is cool (1)

AtomicBomb (173897) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888428)

I think DNA tests are way better than 99% (ie. 1% false positive). However, massive collection of DNA do care a very serious problem in statistical sense.

Suppose we have got a test which will give wrong answer in one out of 10 millions tests and we need to solve a homocide case. If we start with a number of suspects (say 10 gang associate deal recently with the victim) and use DNA test to nail down the right guy, the test is pretty robust (as long as the lab does not cross-contaminate/ mis-label the samples). The chance of accusing the wrong guy is (1-(1-1e-7)^10), about one in one million.

But, if the government is going to collect massive amount of samples and use DNA test to screen, the picture can be very different. I won't be suprised if 20 million records will be collected in 5 years. On average we will find two person to match the profile...

Re:dna is cool (4, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888084)

This doesn't have anything to do with not trusting democracy.

Collecting extensive information about people and a "hand over your papers" style government, are more akin to fascist states and dictatorships.

Re:dna is cool (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888136)

It just shows people don't trust democracy any more and that they definitely don't trust the people that they voted into power.

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner.

You are damn right the people don't trust democracy, and they shouldn't either.

Re:dna is cool (0)

dropadrop (1057046) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888492)

it just shows people don't trust democracy any more and that they definitely don't trust the people that they voted into power.
Then again, quite a minority of the Americans actually voted for the current government (I guess the ones who qualified and didn't can blame themselves though). Once you count what the percentage of people who voted was, then deduct half who voted for the "other guy" you won't be left with majority...

Re:dna is cool (1)

daigu (111684) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888662)

Perhaps you should do some more reading on the subject then, like the article Soft Surveillance: Mandatory Voluntarism and the Collection of Personal Data [dissentmagazine.org] by Gary T. Marx [mit.edu] . Here's a good quote:

The first task of a society that would have liberty and privacy is to guard against the misuse of physical coercion by the state and private parties. The second task is to guard against the softer forms of secret and manipulative control. Because these are often subtle, indirect, invisible, diffuse, deceptive, and shrouded in benign justifications, this is clearly the more difficult task.

Two decades later the hot-button cultural themes of threat, civil order, and security that Lewis emphasized are in greater ascendance and have been joined by the siren calls of consumption. If our traditional notions of liberty disappear, it will not be because of a sudden coup d'état. Nor will the iron technologies of industrialization be the central means. Rather, it will occur slowly, with an appeal to traditional American values in a Teflon- and sugar-coated technological context of low visibility, fear, and convenience.

Re:dna is cool (2, Insightful)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888772)

i don't think keeping a dna database is much a problem.

I think that in a free nation, any citizen not convicted of a crime who is confronted by a government agent trying to remove any part of his or her flesh, ought to be encouraged to break said agent's arm.

The sovereignty of the state ends at my skin. No medical procedure, no matter how trivial, can legitimately be forced on an free innocent adult.

people just fear that the government would abuse this system and possibly set people up and what not. it just shows people don't trust democracy any more and that they definitely don't trust the people that they voted into power.

In the United States, democracy was never trusted. That's why we have a Constitution instead of straight-up mob rule, in theory at least.

Of course this will be abused. The United States government is the organization that brought you COINTELPRO, MK-ULTRA, the Bay of Pigs, the Vietnam debacle, Iran-Contra, the Iraq debacle (part I and part II), Gitmo, and extraordinary rendition, to name a few of its most recent and greatest hits.

Re:dna is cool (1)

ShadowsHawk (916454) | more than 7 years ago | (#17889454)

What about DNA screening? I'm more worried about them screening for genetic disorders to determine which are 'quality' citizens? As others have said, I don't fear the government, I just don't trust them.

Re:dna is cool (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 7 years ago | (#17889710)

When was the last time you voted an FBI agent or a Federal prosecutor into power?

They sacrifice our freedom in the name of "safety" (5, Insightful)

spineboy (22918) | more than 7 years ago | (#17887972)

There are many quotes by our forefathers regarding this. It's a slow death, a slippery slope. We must avoid national security cards, mass DNA fingerprinting, etc, otherwise we will become like the old Soviet state, where you were screwed if you didn't have your "papers".

Re:They sacrifice our freedom in the name of "safe (1)

spellraiser (764337) | more than 7 years ago | (#17887990)

In America; screw missing papers.

In Soviet Russia, missing papers screw YOU!

Re:They sacrifice our freedom in the name of "safe (1)

fabs64 (657132) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888040)

I don't disagree, but the irony of your statement is that with cheap DNA you would just automatically have your "papers" at all times.

Re:They sacrifice our freedom in the name of "safe (1)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888048)

Yes, except that they don't yet have portable checkers. That means that if you are to be tested, you have to stay in a cell whilst they test your DNA. As a punishment for not bringing your ID papers :).

B.

Re:They sacrifice our freedom in the name of "safe (1)

smchris (464899) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888482)

There are many quotes by our forefathers regarding this.

Yeah, but they had ideals about how they thought individuals and society should act. That's why one of my philosophy books on that era was called "The Age of Ideology". America slipped into pragmatism a long time ago: "If it produces results, do it." Lately we've gone way Postmodern and if getting medieval on your ass feels good even if critics in the know who have tortured or been tortured tell you it doesn't work we'll do it anyway for the short-term power fix. A little late in the game to get our innocence back and extort ideals without a national catharsis.

scary quote from the article (5, Insightful)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888042)

Lynn Parrish is quoted saying: "Rapists are generalists. They don't just rape, they also murder."

brr.

I can see where this is heading. "Robbers don't just rob, they also murder." --> "Beggers don't just beg, they also murder." --> "People spitting on the ground don't just spit on the ground, they also murder."
Basically what she's saying is that all criminals are inherently equal, and potential murderers, and thus deserve to be treated in the worst way.

Now pray, do tell me that that is not a scary viewpoint.
B.

Re:scary quote from the article (2, Insightful)

spellraiser (764337) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888118)

Another frightening stereotype that's drawn up to justify these measures seems to be the idea that illegal immigrants are generally sexual predators:

The 2006 amendment was sponsored by two border state Republicans, Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona and Senator John Cornyn of Texas. In an interview, Mr. Kyl said the measure was broadly drawn to encompass illegal immigrants as well as Americans arrested for federal crimes. He said that 13 percent of illegal immigrants detained in Arizona last year had criminal records.

"Some of these are very bad people," Mr. Kyl said. "The number of sexual assaults committed by illegal immigrants is astonishing. Right now there is a fingerprint system in use, but it is not as thorough as it could be."

Now, in my book this is just plain racism. Scary shit alright.

Re:scary quote from the article (4, Interesting)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888478)

Is truth an absolute defence against racism? If it turned out that 13% of ilegal immigrants did indeed have criminal records, surely it's just a statement of fact?

Re:scary quote from the article (1)

spellraiser (764337) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888596)

You have a valid point there ... facts are facts.

However, what is implied from the facts, and the actions that are taken based on them, is what's under discussion. My main worry is that the statistics are being used to lump all illegal immigrants into the same category; potential violent criminals. They are definitely being targeted specifically. Okay, so racism is perhaps a bit harsh, but it certainly is discrimination.

Re:scary quote from the article (1)

Anomolous Cowturd (190524) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888632)

Well... lets's see. Being an illegal immigrant, after your first arrest, you'd have a criminal record. Get arrested again, suddenly your whole demographic becomes a mob of axe-murdering child rapists...

Re:scary quote from the article (4, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888744)

Facts are facts, but this is unsubstantiated opinion:

"The number of sexual assaults committed by illegal immigrants is astonishing."

The implication is that illegal immigrants commit a huge number of sexual assaults; worded that way it sounds as though they commit a disproportionate number, perhaps even the majority of them.

Yet there are no figures given to back up that statement, and "astonishing" is a subjective (and emotive) term. It's FUD at the very least, if not outright racism.

Re:scary quote from the article (2, Interesting)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888890)

If it turned out that 13% of ilegal immigrants did indeed have criminal records, surely it's just a statement of fact?

There is a difference between "13% of people here illegally have been convicted of a crime in their home country," and "13% of people who are here illegally and who make enough trouble or slip up enough to get caught been convicted of a crime in their home country".

There's also a huge leap between "have a criminal record" and "have commited sexual assault".

The Kyl quote seems to skip lightly over both of these differences.

Re:scary quote from the article (4, Interesting)

bhima (46039) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888684)

I was just in the US and I was shocked at the increase of racist things my family & I were subjected to, as compared to around 5 years ago when we moved away from the US. I realize that's it is pretty obvious my girlfriend isn't Anglo (She's Cambodian) and our daughter is... well *ours* and that we don't speak English amongst ourselves. But I will never for the life of me understand why someone would use insults aimed at Mexicans at a family of mixed race speaking Czech in the US.

It amazes me how effectively the Mexicans have been turned into the new enemy in the US.

We have two evil trends converging here (5, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888066)

The first is the "show us your papers" police state behavior that has a camera on every street corner, national identity cards, huge databases of citizen info, warrantless monitoring of telephone and internet traffic, computerized gerrymandering, cell phone location tracking, etc, etc, etc.

The second is the "buy now!" corporation state behavior that has every purchase, every click, every commercial fast-forwarded through monitored and recorded and analyzed, while MAFIAA-DRM "loss prevention" and RFID tags in your underwear close the few remaining loopholes.

Between the politicians greed for limitless power and the corporations limitless greed for wealth, the average citizen doesn't stand a chance. Like the frog in the pot of water, they keep raising the temperature and we keep not noticing. When I read these stories I think: "By God, if there was anywhere to go, I would".

/me puts tinfoil hat back on and crawls back under the bed.

Re:We have two evil trends converging here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17888388)

Your post reads like an advertisement for the Amish ;)

Re:We have two evil trends converging here (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 7 years ago | (#17889698)

>> puts tinfoil hat back on and crawls back under the bed.

Paranoia is an artifice of the aluminum industry.

private dna registrars (5, Interesting)

DynamicPhil (785187) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888082)

... well, we are all thinking of goverment as big brother - what about private contractors wanting this?
What will you do when goverment decides private firms (haliburton, or one of your private health insurance corporations) are the best entities to run these things. Outsourcing, anyone?

How do you absolutely guarantee that the DNA database wont be used for employee application selection, or for deciding your premium on your health insurance?

I'll just mention that Sweden has a (for medical use only - but that's currently under discussion) DNA database of all in sweden newborns since 1975 (if you havent specifically asked for non-participation), called the PKU database. It's still ongoing (my little dude was just last week registred - he's a couple of weeks)

Certain "high profile" crimes have been resulted in that the use of this database is under discussion - and the debate is for what uses this database could/should be used.

My hopes are that never, ever will this database be sent to the US/Feds/CIA (as flight iternaries are), and also that private corporation use is prohibited. Think of the society where your employer knows all about your DNA... (go see GATTACA).

Re:private dna registrars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17888282)

The guardians of these databases will probably lose a couple copies. It could happen on purpose or by accident when an employee transports [partial] copies for a variety of purposes. Those copies will probably turn up in the hands of companies that have a use for mining it or the hands ID thieves or both. I can hear it now: "We at X Corporation didn't know that the information was illegaly obtained."

Re:private dna registrars (1)

MindKata (957167) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888604)

I agree about its not just the governments we all have to worry about, but there's an even bigger problem with giving DNA to especially corporations.

Once its given then that's it, they have it forever. So they have effectively the blue print to you. Everything that makes you, who you are, is contained in your DNA. Its only our current inability to reverse engineer the DNA which gives some protection against the huge amount of profiling that would otherwise be possible.

And its only a matter to time before they will be able to learn to do far more reverse engineering profiling based on DNA.

Considering the rate of progress in DNA sequencing etc..., then imagine where we will be in 20 or 30 years from now. Even worse, if someone born now has their DNA taken and recorded, then when they are say 40 or 50 imagine how much more will be possible to learn about that person from their DNA.

Governments & Corporations will be able to use this data in the future to predict likely behaviours. They can then use this to manipulate what you think, by altering what they tell you based on what they know about you.

There are already precedents for governments manipulating what they tell people during elections based on what the governments know about people from even just conventional data such as various licences etc...

Now imagine what would happen in the future if marketing companies could get these DNA profiles of people.

Sad (3, Interesting)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888096)


I'm a European, I love to travel, and I've recently decided I'm not going to travel to the USA until things improve there. How sad is that?

How quickly things can change...

Re:Sad (1)

logru (909550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888300)

I second that. When the fingerprinting at the airport started I figured that there isn't really anything there I want to see that much.

Re:Sad (0, Flamebait)

misanthrope101 (253915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888346)

Being from the USA, I've always been puzzled that people visit my country. We have Yellowstone National Park (for now, anyway), the Grand Canyon, and some other beautiful scenery, but politics aside, the country is too big. The middle is essentially empty. It's too expensive to get a hotel room, too expensive to travel, and when you add in the political climate, borderline xenophobia, religious fundamentalism, the fact that so many people are armed to the teeth and don't like foreigners, and so on, I can't figure out what makes it so attractive. I understand the point of emigrating from Cuba or Myanmar or even Mexico, but why visit? I'm not saying that the entire country is a disaster, only that I myself, after living outside the country for several years, don't feel safe there anymore, am aghast at the political environment, and am basically embarrassed by much of what goes on there. If I was your guide, I wouldn't know where to take you. But maybe I'm reading too much into it, and everyone feels more or less the same way about their own country. There is probably a lot of chauvanism in my outlook. I cringe around hicks in my own country, but illiterate farmers in, say, Thailand don't bother me in the least. Too much self-consciousness, I guess. I know we don't have a monopoly on jerks or idiots, but sometimes it feels like we have all the Grade-A specimens.

Re:Sad (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888402)

I feel the same about the UK.

We've got some wonferful history, some magnificent castles and the like. But the weather's frequently damp and drizzly, it's absurdly expensive to travel anywhere (petrol costs about 85p/litre), most of our major towns and cities are essentially gridlocked for much of the day and don't have a public transport system to speak of. To top the lot, the present government has spent the last 9 years dreaming up scheme after scheme, each more ridiculous than the last. Most of them involve handing over vast quantities of taxpayers money to private businesses for no discernible benefit - a particularly bitter pill to swallow when almost half the money I earn goes on tax one way or another.

Re:Sad (2, Interesting)

misanthrope101 (253915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17889102)

I lived in the UK (Lakenheath) from 90-93. I loved the cathedrals and castles, and the weather didn't bother me. I still remember trying to get to work and getting stuck behind a carrot truck, though. If you think the UK is expensive to travel in, try Japan. At least you can drive around your country, unlike the US which is just enormous. Fuel is much cheaper in the US, but everything is so spread out, unless you confine your travels to one region.

I guess it is different visiting somewhere than being a native. When I was visiting SE Asia I was very self-conscious about being the only American. But after being around other people I didn't feel so bad. I think the problem is that our own countries reflect on us, and the problems of other countries don't bother us too much. When I was in SE Asia I saw a man slap the hell out of a woman on the street. I found it shocking but I would have been more upset, and in a different way, if he had been an American. Same with our current President. If another head of state displays his, shall we say, intellectual capacity, it's just amusing, but if it's my President then I want to hide under the table. I guess everyone's like that. I wonder if I'll get modded "troll" again for saying that all is not sweetness and light in the USA. What's with people and the troll modding?

Re:Sad (0, Troll)

jimicus (737525) | more than 7 years ago | (#17889560)

What's with people and the troll modding?

I think it's often used as a way of saying "I don't agree with what you're saying, but rather than get involved in a sensible debate I'll just try and rig it so that nobody ever sees what you've got to say".

Re:Sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17888718)

I'm a European, I love to travel, and I've recently decided I'm not going to travel to the USA until things improve there. How sad is that?


It may be sad for you, but no one else is going to notice.

Re:Sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17888848)

"Our national reputation has suffered as a direct result of policies and perceptions that discourage travel to the U.S.," the [travel industry representative] says.

Truely sad (1)

TheConfusedOne (442158) | more than 7 years ago | (#17889334)

Considering how you don't even enjoy First Amendment protections in Europe then it is particularly sad. It's sad that you're so damned blinkered to always be bemoaning the impending fascism of the US while ignoring your own conditions.

Re:Truely sad (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 7 years ago | (#17889532)

Considering how you don't even enjoy First Amendment protections in Europe then it is particularly sad.



Huh ? Well, of course we don't enjoy first amendment protections, considering that the constitution of the US doesn't apply here. However, similar terms can be found in the constitutions/equivalents thereof of many European countries ("Europe" isn't a country).

Re:Truely sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17889800)

Considering how you don't even enjoy First Amendment protections in Europe

Come now, just who are we kidding? These days, American, I'd say that puts us on roughly equal footing.

Re:Truely sad (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 7 years ago | (#17889836)

Come now, just who are we kidding? These days, American, I'd say that puts us on roughly equal footing.

Personally, I'll prefer breasts and profanity over Holocaust denials and swastikas any day.

What are "riders" doing in 2006? (4, Insightful)

Eivind Eklund (5161) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888106)

Dear americans,

Riders is a total loophole in the democracy that's possible to drive a dictatorship through. Given your use of power internationally (both diplomatic and violent power), we would prefer if you had a better functioning democracy. Do you have any estimated time-to-fix? Even a time-to-start-working-on-a-fix would be helpful.

Thanks!

Eivind.

Re:What are "riders" doing in 2006? (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888128)

What makes you assume that we have any more control of our democracy than you do?

Re:What are "riders" doing in 2006? (1, Funny)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888200)

What makes you assume that we have any more control of our democracy than you do?

Isn't that one of the things that makes Americans so proud and superior to the rest of the world ?



Apart from your second amendment and such, you still have the right to vote (and to run for office - that's equally important) over there.

Re:What are "riders" doing in 2006? (1)

Eivind Eklund (5161) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888256)

Knowledge of the US political model, including how a significant fraction of americans tend to automatically disregard those that are not from the US.

Effectively, you CAN campaign for reforms of this, and any campaign done by a foreigner will be ineffective.

And I already just did the only thing that I can do: Appeal to the people of the US to help turn it into a proper democracy, which they can do by being OUTRAGED at the existence of riders and unread laws. Scream about it. Tell your neighbour. Tell the people on the bus. Tell the people at work how you are being robbed. Talk about voting for those that want to reform this.

You can do that and it can have an effect. I can only post on Slashdot. Which I've done.

Eivind.

Re:What are "riders" doing in 2006? (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888864)

Uh, and the Europeans voted for all the regulations that the EU enacted? No, they did not. The EU is a horrible example and I'll keep ours, thank you.

Re:What are "riders" doing in 2006? (1)

Eivind Eklund (5161) | more than 7 years ago | (#17889296)

I'm perfectly with you on the EU being a bad example. You can look to some of the member states as reasonable democracies, though, and there are non-members that are fairly good (Australia has an interesting voting system, for instance). Anyway, I was speaking of a particular point: Riders. Riders is a hack on the voting system, one that could be removed without any major change (except it being somewhat more work to pass legislation, which is almost certainly a good thing.)

This has nothing to do with the EU, something that is a completely different problem, and to my mind (as somebody that is neither a resident of the EU nor of USA) a lesser problem than the USA.

Eivind.

Re:What are "riders" doing in 2006? (3, Insightful)

Afecks (899057) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888474)

Given your use of power internationally (both diplomatic and violent power), we would prefer if you had a better functioning democracy.

If you want to draw a line down the middle and say "only your side of the house is on fire" then by all means have at it. You could pitch in too if you wanted though. Simply by voting in your own country (lead by example) and educating everyone you come in contact with online about the dangers we face from giving up our privacy and freedoms. I'm sure pissing in our faces and asking "how's the weather" isn't the right way to go about it though.

Re:What are "riders" doing in 2006? (3, Insightful)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888664)

If you want to draw a line down the middle and say "only your side of the house is on fire" then by all means have at it.

It's not just that your side of the house is on fire, you're also making everyone else pour gas on their side.

Do you think my country can do anything about the ever-increasing loads of crap that I get shoved down my throat everytime I enter the US ? I'm still putting up with it because of family over there, but once they revoke the visa waiver program ("security experts" are in favor of this measure, or so I've heard), I'm going to call it quits.

My wife doesn't get fingerprinted or otherwise harassed when we return from the US.

Re:What are "riders" doing in 2006? (1)

Afecks (899057) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888870)

Do you think my country can do anything about the ever-increasing loads of crap that I get shoved down my throat everytime I enter the US?

I don't know what country you're from but if you're big enough to make some of our businesses feel the hurt from lack of tourism then simply not coming here and letting us know why could be enough to get something positive happening in congress. As long as our constitution is still standing there is a chance we can undo all these knee-jerk anti-terrorism laws and policies. That's why I still love this country.

Re:What are "riders" doing in 2006? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17888962)

if you're big enough

Welcome to capitalocracy. If you're "big enough" then you count, if you don't have the capital, go die in a ditch.

Re:What are "riders" doing in 2006? (1)

Afecks (899057) | more than 7 years ago | (#17889066)

Spock: That is wise. Were I to invoke logic, however, logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

Re:What are "riders" doing in 2006? (3, Insightful)

Eivind Eklund (5161) | more than 7 years ago | (#17889542)

I *do* vote in my own country, and I *do* spend time educating people. I even spent a bunch of time attempting to set up a political party working for the primary difficulty I see for my own country (low education level for the politicans, distance between scientific knowledge and the ruling politicians), though that never really got off the ground.

However, at this point the major problem I see isn't local: It is global, and it is that the US is slipping with fear. This brings the major democratic problems of the US to the foreground, and "riders" is one of these. The other primary problems are disenfranchment of the voters, IMO primarily due to indirect effects of the election system (winner-takes-all giving a two-party system instead of the plurality of parties typical when using a more proportional system of voting) and the use of paid advertising for candidates, thus giving the impression that only those with money can win (which may or may not be right, there's reasonable economic arguments that it isn't.)

Anyway, since you did not like my way of attempting to humourously highlight these problems: How would you highlight them? How would you point out, in this forum, that the US has large democratic issues and hopefully get some of the people living there riled up about these issues enough that they start to do something about them? How would you get you yourself riled up enough that you start to actively work to get the US to have a better democracy?

In all friendliness and with the hope of a better tomorrow, Eivind.

S.O.S. (1)

Khammurabi (962376) | more than 7 years ago | (#17889214)

Dear Rest of World,

Voting appears ineffective. Total system corruption appears inevitable. Please send another copy of manual of Democracy, ours has been misplaced. Please instruct on how to reboot the system.

Help!

- U.S. Citizens.

Bahumbug (2, Insightful)

Bandraginus (901166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888112)

Given how easy it is to culture, grow, and then plant somebody else's DNA [abc.net.au] this is a truly sobering initiative. No jury will every entertain the fact that DNA evidence could be wrong... it's so well drilled into us by TV.

How many criminals wear gloves? That's how many criminals will potentially carry a bottle of somebody's cultured DNA.

Illegal immigrant rights (1)

Bob54321 (911744) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888116)

Why are immigrants rights groups getting angry. The article says it would be applied to illegal immigrants (or at least the summary does - no-one read the actual article do they?). As a person who has only briefly visited the USA, my understanding of the law was the illegal immigrants had very little rights and they are obviously committing a crime being in the country illegally and all... I have no problem with DNA samples being taken from people committing crimes.

Re:Illegal immigrant rights (1)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888166)

I have no problem with DNA samples being taken from people committing crimes.

Ok so I pull you over for having a tail light out, your committing a crime, do we take your DNA and test it on the spot? you dont have anything to hide right so let me go back to my patrol car and grab my kit, your not on file you say? well in the eyes of the law you just commited a crime, ill be taking a sample now thank you

Re:Illegal immigrant rights (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888554)

well in the eyes of the law you just commited a crime

No, in the eyes of the law, you are a suspect. You aren't a criminal until you either plead guilty or are found guilty in court.

Re:Illegal immigrant rights (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888896)

Don't bother him with legal facts, he's working up a good paranoia.

Re:Illegal immigrant rights (1)

big mike kite (1038478) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888404)

You don't have to commit a crime to get your DNA taken - if you are arrested and then released then they will take a sample of your DNA. You cannot get them to remove this data.

I should also mention that if any of your relatives are arrested then their DNA will be taken. If at a later date their sample is similar to a crime sample then all the males in your family are likely to get a knock on their door.

I suppose it's good that police have scientific methods of catching criminals but what happens when your own DNA has an 96% match against the one they're after. Who will listen to your cries of innocence?

Here in the UK I can still remember the time when the purpose of the police was to protect society from criminals. Sadly the new policy seems to be ever more automated ways of turning us all into criminals.

Fingerprints are bad enough (2, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888174)

Fingerprints are bad enough, but at least they aren't much use beyond identification (and any abuses of identification).

But DNA? They say they are collecting it for identification, but it's practically your personal biological blueprint. Once enough of the population has their DNA recorded, you can expect to see all kinds of non-identification uses and novel abuses. Expect to see the data sold to companies that do background checks, so that potential employers can check for the "alcohol abuse gene" or the "predisposed to violent rage" gene, or subtle forms of racial discrimination like the gene that causes sickle-cell anemia.

Who knows what the future holds? Privacy is like Pandora's Box - once you give it away, you can never get it back. Anyone clinging to the, "If you haven't done anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about" meme just lacks imagination.

Re:Fingerprints are bad enough (1)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 7 years ago | (#17889266)

so that potential employers can check for the "alcohol abuse gene" or the "predisposed to violent rage" gene

Damn, like I need two more strokes against me...

I thought this was done already (1)

Spackler (223562) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888216)

I thought they had already accomplished this by making parents do it in case their child is abducted. They get a dental impression and a cheek swab for DNA. Granted, it would take another 60 or 70 years to make sure you had everyone, but they are well on their way.

Ooohh, be carful of little Bobby, better give us a sample of his DNA to hold on record forever.

keep your siblings out of trouble too (2, Insightful)

mrpeebles (853978) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888350)

As I understand it, they keep actual samples to allow future testing after technology has improved. This means that in 30 years, we could imagine a scenario where insurance companies deny your grandchildren coverage because of your genetic makeup. Or, less realistically, the government could decide that some set of genes were bad- for example, caused a tendency for violence- and they would have the tools ready to round people up and arrest them. I can't imagine the government doing this, but the 20th century taught us we always have to be vigilent againt totalitarian regimes developing.

Finally- remember that you don't have to be arrested for them to get your DNA. You may be a model citizen, but have a family member who, eg, because he is at an anti-war rally, gets arrested and gets his DNA taken, and then the government essentially has your DNA too.

Re:keep your siblings out of trouble too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17888812)

" Or, less realistically, the government could decide that some set of genes were bad- for example, caused a tendency for violence- and they would have the tools ready to round people up and arrest them. I can't imagine the government doing this, but the 20th century taught us we always have to be vigilent againt totalitarian regimes developing. "

If you can't imagine them doing this it is because you haven't studied history: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics [wikipedia.org]

Re:keep your siblings out of trouble too (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888924)

That last sentence -- wow. Do you not understand DNA? Is that your twin (which is still not an exact match) or a cousin (which is not much of a match at all)? Looked at it your way, take a swab from a Mongolian steppe nomad, "and then the government essentially has your DNA too". Because, it contains most of the infor to make a human.

Re:keep your siblings out of trouble too (1)

mrpeebles (853978) | more than 7 years ago | (#17889304)

Wow. Your post is pretty rude. Well, my PhD is in physics, not biology, but I think I have some understanding of DNA. And, believe it or not, you and your sibling do share quite a bit of DNA. They can be related through the study of something called "statistics." For example, according to NPR, it happens all the time that DNA samples from crime scenes match those of people in prison closely enough to let the police know that the crime was committed by a close relative of the person in prison. Whether this match is reported to the police is a policy that, amazingly, in at least some cases is determined by the person doing the DNA comparison at the prison.

US Customs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17888406)

I noticed recently when entering the States they took fingerprints and a digital photograph of everyone who is not from the US. This happens everytime we enter, not just the first time.

Do they not do this to US citizens because it is not allowed by law for them?

Do they take it multiple times because they delete it after the traveller's visa has expired (90 days)?

Re:US Customs (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888466)

Do they take it multiple times because they delete it after the traveller's visa has expired (90 days)?



Of course not ! If they did, they cannot prevent the evil terrorists from entering the US under false identities. The information is basically kept forever (decades), to be able to check your fingerprints against the ones taken from you when you entered earlier.

DNA and BIG BROTHER (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17888488)

It's just a continuation of BIG BROTHER and centralized government. We have been headed toward a centralized BIG BROTHER government all of my life, 60 years. I just learned last night that we are going to all have a FEDERAL ID as of 2008. Just another small step. That's how they do it, one small step at a time. Then when we end up with no state rights and one CENTRAL GOVERNMENT, few will even notice that our Constitution is no longer valid and fewer yet will even complain and the ones that do will be squashed like a bug. The masses are so easy to fool it's almost funny, if it wasn't so serious.

My children are good examples. One of which is a national merit scholar, who totally expects and has excepted that we are going to have a totally controlling centralized government and thinks you would be crazy to question it and set yourself up as a target. There you go.....the game is already over, it's just a matter of time.

6 degrees (3, Insightful)

caudron (466327) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888594)

More a question than a comment, but if old uncle Jethro decides to up and rob a liquor store (we always knew how much Jethro loved his liquor) and they collect DNA from him, what does that mean for the rest of the family? I mean, DNA isn't just a way to identify the person. It's a way to identify entire familial relations. So, having never knocked over a liquor store myself (despite those selfish bastards for not giving it away free!) by virtue of a froward uncle, now whenever a liquor store is hit and DNA left behind, not only can they say "looks like Jethro was here" they could conceivably say "looks like a family member of Jethro's was here". What next? Does that give them Probable Cause to DNA test the rest of us...I mean, they KNOW it was one of us, and I do look drunk most of the time.

I hate to invoke the ol' Slippery Slope argument, but it sure seems like a classic case where the government is poring grease on the slope as we speak.

Tom Caudron
http://tom.digitalelite.com/ [digitalelite.com]

Fighting for our rights (1)

AKabral (1056068) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888624)

All this seems to me like it'll just criminalize the already non-criminals. Innoncent until proven guilty, but someone's identity in the system might just be an implication in her/him being a criminal.

I wouldn't mind a database of DNA for convicted criminals, but just those arrested seems like killing a rat with a nuke.

Unfortunately, the founding dudes didn't see privacy as a 'self evident' right. So now, we have to fight for our rights (for privacy, not "to party"). But why do we have to fight so hard, so often, and in such mintue detail?

AKabral

Fingerprinting... (1)

Etherwalk (681268) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888648)

Aside from the fact that it's (maybe) more accurate, and it's (probably) a little easier to fool, having such a thing for identification doesn't seem that different from fingerprinting.

for identification being the operative words.

Law enforcement wants it because it makes it easier for them to do their jobs--that's their agenda, I understand that. I don't like it from a civil liberties standpoint. New York has been expanding the list of crimes that DNA samples are taken for, just as they've been expanding the number of crimes that count towards the sex offender registry. Well, okay--the latter is done at least in part for political reasons as opposed to law enforcement reasons. Although it's also done to cover the sorts of crimes that the registry is, theoretically, designed to protect against.

The thing that really bothers me about this, though, is the invasion of medical privacy. Of course you lose a lot of rights if you're arrested--but if you're not found guilty, why should you have your medical expectations for your entire life suddenly in the government hands? Eye color? Ethnicity? Tendency to be gay? longevity? Chance of developing prostate cancer? It's one thing if they're keeping enough data to differentiate your DNA from someone else's, on average. It's another if they're keeping enough to select your DNA out of a million people's DNA. And it's something else entirely if they keep a complete sample. Hell, they could clone you. Disturbing thought, eh?

DNA storage (1)

Jim, UK (1060102) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888690)

As several people have already said, this is already in widespread use here in the UK. Not just for those who've been arrested/suspected, but also for all those who have given samples to be excluded in a widespread area search. There is no way that these 'innocent' samples can be removed from the database as the law does not allow it. Indeed, witin the few weeks one of the UK's senior police officers has voiced an 'opinion' that it would be beneficial to take a DNA sample from every baby at birth. Also, given the previous history of the UK governments to sell off the family silver, how long will it be before this information can be purchaed by insurance or private medical companies and then used to deny insurance cover - for an example, look at how they sell off details from the electoral register and the vehicle licensing databases to private companies.

This is just another part of the camel.... (4, Insightful)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17888714)

I see lots of posts about how this portends the US as a totalitarian police state.

Sorry, but that camel's nose is under the tent - you already let him in. You (the public) has begged and begged for a nanny state that watches over you and caters to your every whim. Got a problem with your neighbor? Let the courts decide. Your crop failed this year? Beg the government for disaster assistance. Hurricane wiped out your below-sea-level home? It *must* be the government's fault for not protecting/saving you, and then complain because the government handouts are insufficient or slow.

It goes back to the line from "A man for all seasons" - (IIRC) would you tear down the law to get at the devil? Of course? Then what will you hide behind when he comes back at you with his terrible power? If you demand the government keep you safe, employed, fed, housed, and happy, you're a hypocrite if you don't realize that logically this requires extensive surveillance. Kind of like the parent of a toddler.

Sorry, but we're getting exactly what we've spent at least the last 50 years begging for - government uber alles. Is it such a shock that the government (in order to protect us from stubbing our toe) wants to begin tracking where we are, what we do, and whom we do it with?

hospitals are already collecting dna (2, Interesting)

objwiz (166131) | more than 7 years ago | (#17889004)

For years, the hospitals have been collecting DNA from every live birth. They also have records of hand and foot prints. So I don't see whats the point of resisting this. The gov is collecting data on us left and right from the time we are born.

trend analysis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17889350)

In Texas, you have to give your thumb print for permanent record in order to get a Driver's License or a State ID Card. You essentially need one or the other to operate as any form of legitimate legal citizen.

Once the federal government has ramped up its collection, analysis, and data warehousing facilities for DNA-based identification, it's not hard to imagine that the submission of DNA will become a rote part of the process of applying for the (soon-to-be) required federal ID card.

Heck, if a DNA extraction and sequencing device could be made small, fast, and cheap enough, it's another easy extrapolation to imagine physical DNA identification cross-reference being required at any TSA security check point.

Re:trend analysis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17889446)

"Sir, please remove your shoes and give me a saliva sample."

do7l (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17889520)

Reinvent Gattaca (1)

NeuroManson (214835) | more than 7 years ago | (#17889738)

The only way to reduce the reliance on DNA records (yet further validate the use of such in court cases, when the innocents are tried), is to increase the signal/noise ratio. In the case of the movie Gattaca, the way the main character assumed another's identity was by collecting miscellaneous tissue (hair, skin, blood) samples and strategically leaving them around the workplace, so that anyone investigating him would find the DNA for the man he was impersonating.

This could work similarly, if one was, say, to go an extra day or two between showers, as just everyday life would result in little samplings of DNA scattering everywhere. After they find your DNA sample at a liquor store following a robbery, for example, they would be forced to release you, and even pay financial restitution, when they find the same DNA on later crime scenes while you remain incarcerated. At the best, they're forced to pay you off, at the worst, they pay your attorney's fees and the final reward is proving such a cataloging system is flawed and unreliable.

The only question is in the decay rate of DNA. Considering how so many people are being released from prison based on decades old DNA evidence, I'm guessing DNA survives for a relatively long time.

Re:Reinvent Gattaca (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 7 years ago | (#17889804)

After they find your DNA sample at a liquor store following a robbery, for example, they would be forced to release you,

Nope. You get stuck in jail, because you're guilty, and you're easy to convict. The DNA proves it.

At the best, they're forced to pay you off,

You might want to know that not all US states have laws about the compensation of people who have been imprisoned mistakenly. So, even on the chance that you do get released from prison, there might not be a big cash prize waiting for you outside, just the shattered remains of what your life was. Have fun picking up the pieces.

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