Monday, April 21, 2008

America Follows UK Lead

Rather interestingly (to me, anyway, your mileage may vary) The Register are reporting that the US of A have started to adopt the UK's policy of collecting DNA from everyone arrested.

This is - like so many things - function creep from what the DNA database was originally introduced for in the US. It was supposed to store only the DNA from people CONVICTED of sexual attacks, murders and serious violent crimes, but the Government now want to expand this to include everyone arrested for anything. Note, you don't have to be convicted of anything, just arrested. For anything.

Unlike the UK though, the US are granting its citizens a 30-day public comment period after being published in the Federal Register. The US also allows people to have their DNA removed from the database if they can prove they were wrongly arrested, but it can take up to two years to get records expunged.

And while the new rules say federal employees may not use the records to identify genealogy, genetic traits or diseases, it's unclear what is to prevent employees from skirting those rules. Seeing as only last month the US State Department admitted that workers had snooped on the supposedly private passport records of all three presidential candidates, once the information is there, people are going to do what they want with it.

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