Thought of the day

The Supreme Court has just ruled that police have the right to obtain DNA from those they arrest. Apparently it’s a reasonable booking procedure used to identify a suspect. Even though the identification can take weeks. And it almost always will pertain to some other crime for which the police otherwise do not have any reasonable suspicion. And it gives them access to what is normally protected medical information.

Somehow, I don’t think if the founding fathers were around today that they would be in favor of the government having access to a private citizen’s DNA without probably cause, a warrant, or a conviction.

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2 Responses

  1. But if you think about it, that’s not really any different from a fingerprint, which could also be used to link a suspect to an earlier unsolved case. I don’t like it either…but we already have identification through fingerprints and the use of face recognition software on images in public places.
    I do wonder if there are restrictions on the amount of sequencing that can be performed on such samples. Can they check for pre-existing conditions? DNA that encodes higher aggression/testosterone levels?
    You might like to check out this link: http://debatewise.org/debates/2621-dna-database-for-criminals/

  2. The point of fingerprints is to help identify a suspect. The connection to previous crimes is incidental. The point of DNA swabs, on the other hand, is unnecessary for adequate identification. Their whole point is to find suspicionless links to random, far-off crimes. It’s no different than a warrantless search – which, incidentally, is exactly what every single one of those pro-DNA database arguments in your link is arguing for.

    I believe most, if not all, states have limits. But do you trust the government with that information? If they were given access to pages 4 through 7 of a 100 page private journal, do you think they would be able to stop themselves from reading pages 1-3 and 8-100 (even if they couldn’t directly use that information in court)?

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