Your DNA up for grabs

In a recent ACLU case, Lily Haskell was arrested for attending a protest of the Iraq War, but was never charged with anything.   When she was required by police to provide DNA, she requested a lawyer, and at that point she was told that she would be charged with a misdemeanor if she did not provide a DNA sample.  This raises the question: why was a person who was only exercising her right as an American to protest, treated the same as every other criminal in America.  For merely attending a protest event, she was arrested and forced to provide DNA to law enforcement.   What happened to Ms. Haskell can and is happening to people across our nation.  Government is finding any excuse possible to collect your DNA. 

All levels of government are beginning to maintain databases of citizens DNA.  Whereas in the past, the fingerprint was the method that law enforcement used to identify criminals; now, government is using any excuse necessary to extract and store one’s DNA. Data basing efforts include cataloging infant DNA after necessary testing, cataloging prisoner DNA, and collecting DNA from suspects to help law enforcement pinpoint “criminals”.  DNA data basing is becoming a trendy option for not only for the federal government, but some state governments as well.  The federal government requires DNA samples from suspects arrested on federal crimes, prior to any conviction or trial whatsoever.  Twenty-one states require DNA sample collection from arrestees.   Opponents maintain that this is a violation of fundamental civil rights and argue against DNA storage for many other reasons as well.

In this fairly new era of DNA data basing, human error is left out of the equation.  In California alone, there are over 200,000 samples in the state’s database.  The sheer quantity of this extremely sensitive material is left to humans to handle and catalogue.   A minor mistake by a lab technician could cost someone his/her life unjustly. 

Researchers and other advocates of DNA data basing are aggressively protecting their turf.  The American College of Medical Genetics, for example, recently issued a “position statement” extolling the benefits of dried-blood specimen databases, and dismissing opponents’ concerns as “unsubstantiated and highly exaggerated.”  Even the March of Dimes has joined the DNA data basing bandwagon.  

Opponents of DNA data basing clearly have their work cut out.  Let’s hope that we are successful in checking government efforts to enhance its DNA information storage capabilities.

24 comments Add your comment

joe matarotz

November 13th, 2009
8:26 am

Geez, Bobo, I never thought of it that way. Great Clips has been collecting samples of my DNA every three weeks for years now. It’s obvious to you that they must be a covert arm of the government, doing their patriotic duty to supply the government with an aver growing collection of samples.

I guess you see in your vision truckloads of DNA samples being dumped on the front lawn of the NSA where dozens of minimum wage drones sort and record the data, then bag it and tag it. From there it must be transported to vast storage rooms where it is held until a lif or death decision will be made about us. For what, I cannot imagine. But this is your hallucination, so I digress.

Do you actually spout this stuff in real life? You must be a hoot at parties. But don’t feel bad, Bobo. The crowd is laughing WITH you, not at you. Really. Honestly.


November 13th, 2009
8:41 am

Indeed, there are always attempts to subvert and abolish the 1st, 4th and 5th amendments — all the while, attention to the 2nd amendment is used as a diversion.

Additionally, about 20% of human genes have patents on them, and genes have DNA. This has very, very severe implications — if a corporation, like Monsanto, owns the rights to 10% of your DNA, do they own you?

I am reminded of a short film illustrating this kind of corporate/government sponsored technological terror and social control, where everything about us is known and linked into large databases: credit scores, health records, DNA, employment and police records, housing, purchases and income. The main, albeit fictional, example was a man who wanted to buy pizza with a credit card and was told, BY THE PIZZA STORE, that he just bought pizza from another store the day before, his health records showed he had elevated BP and cholesterol, he was 2 days late paying his credit card bill and his health insurance was about to be terminated. So, instead of his “meat lovers” pizza he was “allowed” to purchase a small veggie if he paid cash and a surcharge for being a health risk.

joe matarotz

November 13th, 2009
9:04 am

Today, fictitious pizzarias. Tomorrow, the world! roflmao


November 13th, 2009
9:06 am

The pizza fiction is only a metaphor of what is possible now.


November 13th, 2009
9:56 am

Another form of Governmental abuse!You are guilty until proven innocent in our society…why should this be any different….I better not write anymore the Government is probably tapping our lines!

Hard Right Hook

November 13th, 2009
10:01 am


Sounds like the local constable “fabricated” some probable cause?

Why else?

Turd Ferguson

November 13th, 2009
10:43 am

We are finding DNA evidence is not so infalable. The Fed, State and local Govts are not to be trusted.

Turd Ferguson

November 13th, 2009
10:50 am


November 13th, 2009
9:56 am

Of course the govt is tapping phone lines. Why do you think Cellphones are so popular? No restrictions. They have a sight in Britain the records ever c-phone call made on the planet. Yes…they are listening with great and dishonest intent.

“…We’re tappin phone lines, we know that that aint allowed…”


November 13th, 2009
10:56 am

People like “joe matarotz” are the stoopidest. They chide others who tell the truth about over reaching government, when all THEY do is complain about overreaching government. Bit because an individual is no longer a “kool aid” like they, they insult and discount. Well, I am here to tell any morons that would question or joke about these facts..I actually build and manage some of these very databases. It’s real, and you would be amazed at how the data is used. It would make your head spin.

(Of course “joe” your head is already spinning, so nevermind).


November 13th, 2009
11:45 am

Thank God for the ACLU, Bob. Without them this case may never have surfaced. It also reminds us that a Patriot Act run amok can lead to these kinds of situations.

Hillbilly Retard

November 13th, 2009
12:46 pm

I’m from the Mtn’s of Tennessee. Let em take a look at my DNA, I don’t give a big rat’s a$$. I already know it’s part moonshine and other part rattlesnake venom. They will go back to the drawing board on this project…after looking at mine..


November 13th, 2009
12:56 pm

And to the ACLU lawyers that help to get these scumbags out of prison early or off the hook due to a tech, i hope its your daughter or wife that’s raped / killed next by the same scumbag you helped to free. (sadly it will be more likely be a overly trusting/ unsuspecting liberal like the cancer researcher in midtown, or a child that’s the next victim)
Only people that have never seen what these scum are capable of face to face, feel sorry for them. Kill em all! Vigilante justice!

YellerSkeeters are PeterEaters!

November 13th, 2009
1:01 pm

BravesFan 79, you’re first on my (growing) list! Just sayin’ …


November 13th, 2009
1:45 pm

Individuals are profiled based on attributes I listed earlier, including DNA. The purpose of this profiling is to match individual behaviors and genomics (DNA) to a predetermined set of affinities such as: tendency to commit crime or terrorism, bad credit behavior and poor health behavior. Each of you has already been characterized and selected in some way based on your buying habits, your trips to the doctor, the web sites you visit, your facebook page, the phone calls you make your housing value, your income, and so on.

So, the fact that one has a kind of DNA or behavior profile that can be used as self-incrimination should be of considerable concern to freedom lovers.


November 13th, 2009
1:53 pm

We are still able, I think, to use cash, but only until currency is tagged, so that envethough cash is obtained from an ATM, it will be tagged so that it is know that it was distributed to the holder of the debit card. Once that occurs, and with the inclusion bio-reading, then currency may be tracked from user to user.

This technology exist now.


November 13th, 2009
2:25 pm

Bob – Shouldn’t this go through the Federal court system for a final decision at the Supreme Court? You’re with the ACLU, can you make this happen?


November 13th, 2009
2:42 pm

It seems to me that the requirement of DNA samples violates the “unreasonable search and seizures” prohibition of the 4th amendment. If they want a DNA sample, go get a warrant.

Arresting someone for attending a rally? That seems a violation of the First Amendment.

For once, (maybe the first time ever) I agree that the ACLU should file suit on this one.


November 13th, 2009
4:50 pm

I think we should simply give up.

gloom and doomer

November 13th, 2009
7:50 pm

No need to get paranoid yet. Wait until the technology is developed that allows delivery of DNA samples thru computer keyboards or the power on button.

Big Brother loves you.

Government Option Done Deal

November 13th, 2009
8:17 pm

House Speaker Glenn Richardson has indicated the Republican meme for health care by attempting suicide Sunday night, and one major question is why law enforcement did not alert a physician to issue a 1021 to hospitalize Richardson so that he could not do harm to himself and to designate the best possible treatment for him.

This is a republican paradigm for bad healthcare Perhaps Richardson was depresed because white hick Republicans are the only legislature in the US to refuse to fund the 8th largest Metro transit system in the U.S.

Common Sense

November 14th, 2009
9:50 am

Your photo, fingerprints and handwriting are just as “instrusive” as your DNA. The Supreme Court has already ruled on those.

Bottom line: Don’t get arrested ……….. but if you do I want to know if your arrest will solve a rape or murder somewhere.

Common Sense

November 15th, 2009
2:49 pm

Dear Conservative Posters:

I have been reviewing most of the posts on this weekend thread and something just came to me. In general (there is always an exception now and then) liberals and conservatives post/debate in entirely different ways. Let me try to explain it this way.

For those over 50, do you remember the old “school yard fights” before zero tolerance and felony arrests kicked in ? Well, apply lessons from those physical fights to our verbal fights on this thread.

Boys then were like conservatives today ……….. they would size each other up, make a few challenges in a reasonable attempt to make their point and prevent further confrontation. However, if necessary the “fist fight” was on but then it was over very briefy. One would lose (bloody nose or black eye) and one would win. The important thing was the winner was satisfied and the loser also (because he knew the other guy knew he would fight). Usually, since the pecking order was now established, they would shake hands and be best friends the next day.

Girls on the other hand are like today’s liberals …………….. they would start throwing books, cussing, screaming and shrieking and then the most awful “cat fight” would errupt with the pulling of hair, scratching, tearing of clothes, etc., etc., etc. Eventually, someone would have to pull them apart or they would kill each other. Needless to say, they were enemies pretty much for life.

The point I am trying to make is that liberals and conservatives think and debate differently. Liberals really do get upset with you if you make a point they can’t handle and generally on these posts they are the one’s most involved in personal attacks on other posters. It’s really quite interesting to observe.

Just one example: Liberals love Mike Luchovich’s biting satire in his cartoons. Those are o.k. and the sharper the better. However, let a conservative do the same thing in a “word picture” on one of these threads and they really get hot. I’m sure you remember how vicious they were towards Bush when he was President but if you even dare speak ill of the “messiah” they WILL go off on you.

Just one man’s opinion ……………… and food for thought. Hope it helps.

Now get ready for the screaming and shrieking and ………………………

One example of many

November 15th, 2009
7:01 pm

This is an important issue regardless of your political persuasion. Technology is rapidly redefining concepts like identity and self-incrimination, and it’s going to be up to the citizenry and organizations like the ACLU to insure that a framework of rational laws and precedents are in place.

In the case Bob Barr refers to, the police were clearly abusing the law — “We’ll charge you if you don’t comply.” — to obtain a form of forensic identification that they otherwise could not obtain without a charge having been filed. And the charge they were going to file was a completely inappropriate reason for a DNA sample.

It can be argued that the DNA sample is nothing more than a microscopic fingerprint and therefore there’s really no difference in booking someone and taking fingerprints as opposed to a DNA sample. In the case of DNA, however, there is much more information than just a unique identity revealed by a fingerprint.

What government abuse could arise from this? I certainly don’t have a list of dastardly scenarios, and, even if I did, I’m sure that technology will create many more uses for these samples. What I do know is that if no limits are set on the collection and sharing of this information before the practice becomes pervasive, then our rights and protections will have been irretrievably lessened. The time to take on the issues is before someone comes along who will abuse them. Every virulent totalitarian regime has had a few characteristics in common — keeping lists of citizens who have committed no crime has been one of them.

Michael P.

November 16th, 2009
9:02 am

Our constitution should protect us adequately from big government.