Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tell the Justice Department to leave your DNA alone!

Let’s say you participate in peaceful civil disobedience on federal property and you’re arrested. If the Justice Department has its way, you won’t just be fingerprinted—you’ll have to give a cheek-swab's worth of DNA to a national database, currently limited to those convicted of crimes, but which the Justice Department would like to expand to include the DNA of anyone arrested or detained by federal authorities (including peaceful protesters).

If you’re found innocent you’ll have to request that the sample be removed, which could be difficult, according to Jesselyn McCurdy, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. The rules change also allows private contractors to collect DNA samples.

Comments on the regulatory change are being taken now at the Justice Department website, but the deadline is Monday, May 19 at 4 p.m. Follow this link to comment (click on either the html or pdf icon to read the proposed changes).

Here’s some points you may want to add to your comment:

  • Innocent people do not belong in a criminal DNA database
  • DNA is not a mere fingerprint – it contains sensitive medical information that should not be recklessly collected and stored by the government.
  • Allowing the collection of DNA samples by third-parties will drastically increase the incidence of errors and outright abuse of private genetic information.
More information and links are available here at Defending Dissent.

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