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Leave Your DNA and You Can Go

The Pope's in town, Senators Clinton and Obama had another debate, Nats closer Chad Cordero's fastball has slowed to 76 mph, and Virginia has no money to fix its wretchedly underfinanced highways. Those stories and many others have attracted reader comments this morning, but the outrage level seems to be quite high on a story reporting that the feds propose to collect and retain DNA samples from all citizens arrested in connection with any federal crime and from many immigrants detained by federal authorities. Arrested, not convicted.

Ellen Nakashima and Spencer Hsu, who wrote the story, note that fingerprints have long been collected for virtually every arrestee, but that this new policy would significantly expand the DNA database "beyond its initial aim of storing information on the perpetrators of violent crimes."

Some of our readers who comment defend the proposal, but by far the majority raise concerns about a steadily strengthening Big Brother.

We'll start with thebobbob, who wrote, "Sounds like unreasonable search and seizure to me. The ultimate Government intrusion just because some cop decides to arrest you...guilty or not. This is wrong folks. Write your congressmen."

TOPPER2 was one of the few who commented to defend the concept, in writing, "Citizens have a constitutional right to bear arms, nobody has the right to commit a felony. DNA testing will identify and catch repeat offenders. If you don't commit a felony, you have nothing to worry about."

And fwonschik said, "I had my DNA collected. I am all for this. It can quickly exonerate one from a falsely accusued crime."

But lovinliberty ranted, "Big Brother, BIG Brother, BIG BROTHER! Why stop at DNA samples? How about tissue samples, perhaps organs or first born children?"

sofla said, "This does sound intrusive. You do have to wonder if the next step will be taking DNA samples from all foreigners entering the USA, regardless of country of origin. As for the Senator who said it would prevent "devastating crimes," the same could be said if all guns in the USA were confiscated, but that isn't about to happen..."

buzzm1, one of the relative few to address the illegal immigrant component, asked, "...Don't we spend enough money on illegal immigrants without running DNA tests on them?? Build the fence, and then take their info, and deport them. Illegals need to go!!"

treetopflyer wrote, "As big as I am on civil liberties, this makes somewhat sense to me. 130 people have been exonerated from death row based on DNA evidence - who knows how many others who were innocent could have been saved from execution but weren't?..."

kent_gregory suggested that "...The problem is, once the apparatus to control the public is in place, it will be abused. Historically, this is the case. You may believe this time is different, but I don't believe human nature, and thus the nature of those in power has changed."

erkola said, "...Pretty soon we'll have a chip under our skin, glow-in-the-dark tattoos, retinal scans, etc. Billions of dollars and tons of information and what will it do? Cause bad blood and add to the deficit."

BrownShirtGeorge wrote, "Then again sheep get sheared. It is their lot in life. And Americans have never looked more like a pathetic herd of sheep than they do today, so this will probably become implemented with little comment."

timscanlon asked, "Why not take DNA samples at birth and give citizens an easy to read bar code tattoo. That would make things easier for the government too, and it certainly would be in keeping with the spirit of these measures..."

whizkidz1 wrote, "...Two questions: 1. What possible reason could there be for taking DNA data from an innocent person? 2. Why are we no longer considered innocent until proven guilty?"

yellowtavern2 warned that "...When the cops start collecting and storing personal data on people who are innocent, we have to worry about the very real possibility of our government becoming fascist. I would agree that the government could collect it to use in a particular case, if they promise to destroy it after the trial of someone found not guilty. However, I have no faith that our government would keep its word..."

wege1 agreed, saying, "Another step in the emerging police state; I would always have rather been free than safe. These clowns will continue to claim they are keeping us safe as they destroy liberty..."

We'll give the last word to a supporter of the plan, ronjaboy who wrote, "But I'll bet that all of you guys against this are all about Big Brother when it comes to guns. You'll trust the Government to protect you but you'll deny them the tools to do so. It's likely that they will solve some crimes where the perp has been arrested but not convicted before."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  April 17, 2008; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  Surveillance  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Readers Distrust Polls, Candidates
Next: Readers Confront Mortality


This is an absoulte cross over the line. If the government thinks people will sit by and watch this stand they obviously have not seen the economic forcasts. Bad economy+Tyranny=Revolution

Posted by: satyagraha | May 7, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

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