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Saturday, October 01, 2005

Is a Government DNA Database in Our Future?

According to a recent post on C|Net News.com's "Politics Blog",

The Violence Against Women Act may be about to do violence to Americans' right to privacy.

A U.S. Senate committee has adopted an amendment to the VAWA legislation that would add the DNA of anyone detained by the cops to a federal DNA database called "CODIS."

The author goes on to note that, currently, authorities are only authorized to collect DNA from those actually convicted of a crime. However, this new law allows them to collect DNA from those who are simply "detained;" what that means, exactly, is unclear.

Stuff like this always reminds me of the movie, Minority Report. Specifically, I think of the scene where Anderton (the main character) is walking through a mall, trying to figure out how to escape the police (for those who haven't seen the movie, he was framed for a murder he hadn't yet committed) and all of the advertisements were recognizing him and blurting out his name. How did they recognize him? By scanning his eyes.

Okay, so maybe that's a little bit alarmist. I doubt we will ever have a "Department of Precrime" in real life. DNA is, from what I understand, still the best evidence to tie a person to a crime, and the more people's DNA the authorities have in storage, the easier it would be for them to find criminals. However, it is a bit scary to think of how much information Big Brother may have on us someday...

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