State to get access to thousands of Americans’ genetic information
In an precedent setting move, beginning April, cops in Wisconsin will not only take DNA samples from felons, but will collect and record samples for ALL criminal misdemeanor convictions.
A local Fox affiliate carries the story, noting that the number of DNA samples collected each year is set to increase to an estimated 60,000. Currently 10,000-12,000 samples per year are taken from felons. See the special report in the YouTube video below:
The justification, police claim, is that hundreds or thousands of unsolved crimes could be solved with an expanded DNA database in place. Last year, 550 cases in the state were solved directly from hits garnered via DNA samples.
“We will save lives. We will save people from becoming sexual assault victims, shooting victims because of the evidence that is collected and out there,” said Department of Justice spokesman Brian O’Keefe.
Of course, while this may sound all well and good on the surface, it constitutes a huge threat to liberty. It essentially sanctions the state to build a gigantic biometric database, and will allow government, and whomever else they choose, access to knowledge about untold thousands of Americans’ genetics.
ACLU of Wisconsin Executive Director Chris Ahmuty says “The state of Wisconsin is not ready for this,” adding that “One’s personal autonomy, one’s privacy can get eroded by a thousand cuts,”
“I think there is a strong contingent of us that say before they have their due process exhausted in the court system, they should maintain something as personal as DNA.” noted Rep. David Craig (R-Big Bend).
“We have a job to balance security, and safety versus individual liberty for those who have not had their day in court,” Craig added.
The FBI is currently exponentially expanding a national DNA database. A coalition of over thirty civil liberties groups continue to fight against the move, lobbying the Department of Justice to scrutinize the system, which is said to be riddled with flaws.
And the state has not been shy in moving to expand the ability for government to acquire the DNA of Americans, even those never convicted of any crime.
In 2013 the Supreme Court ruled that it is legal for the state to take a citizen’s DNA upon arrest.
“When officers make an arrest supported by probable cause to hold for a serious offense and bring the suspect to the station to be detained in custody, taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee’s DNA is, like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.” the ruling stated.
Jennifer Lynch, senior attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, outlines the obvious problem with such logic.
“If you consider DNA to be a form of ID, and the Supreme Court has already upheld state laws that allow officers to stop someone and ask for their ID, then this is the logical next step.” Lynch notes.
The biometric prison is no longer a nightmare future vision, it is part of the here and now.
Reblogged this on Nevada State Personnel Watch.