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DNA samples should be on record for...

Displaying poll results.
Nobody
  6562 votes / 20%
Criminals convicted for serious offenses
  9477 votes / 29%
All convicted criminals
  4937 votes / 15%
People arrested for serious offenses
  1231 votes / 3%
Anybody who is arrested
  885 votes / 2%
Everybody
  3093 votes / 9%
Everybody but me
  3786 votes / 11%
The creepy guy who lives down the street
  2218 votes / 6%
32189 total votes.
[ Voting Booth | Other Polls | Back Home ]
  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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DNA samples should be on record for...

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  • by Ironchew (1069966) on Thursday March 10, 2011 @02:44PM (#35445498)

    The fear of a DNA database is a symptom of deeper issues. (Health insurance denying pre-existing conditions, what is considered "probable cause" nowadays, incontrovertible guilt based on DNA alone, etc.) Fix those, and I'd be fine with a database.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 10, 2011 @02:58PM (#35445660)

      I'd have to agree. I'm far too paranoid of modern society to be ok with DNA database for anyone but convicted criminals of things like rape, murder and assault - though from a purely technical standpoint (requiring a complete lack of corruption and bigotry in society to be valid) we would all be better off if everyone's DNA were open publicly for research and rapidly available in a pre-sequenced format for use in medical treatment.

      Lacking that utter lack of corruption - I have to go with only for convicted criminals of very serious offenses (only the most severe crimes: rape, murder, assault) except where volunteered for research purposes and stripped of all information aside from personal and family medical history.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Except that when that laws gets passed around in congress, "rape" will be transformed to "convicted sex offender", which currently means a whole lot of people who really don't belong in that category, unfortunately. Examples abound of minors doing perfectly normal minorly-things and ending up labelled as a sex offenders for life.

        • by JackOfAllGeeks (1034454) on Friday March 11, 2011 @11:21AM (#35452906)

          Except that when that laws gets passed around in congress, "rape" will be transformed to "convicted sex offender", which currently means a whole lot of people who really don't belong in that category, unfortunately. Examples abound of minors doing perfectly normal minorly-things and ending up labelled as a sex offenders for life.

          This.

          Also, why do we need a record? That's only useful if you believe they'll be a repeat offender, and anecdotally it seems like most serious crimes are one-off incidents. I think DNA evidence can be useful in many situations, but why can't that be collected on an as-needed basis? That avoids this whole issue.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Well see, that's just it. If corruption is not a concern, then everybody should be in the database. If corruption is a concern, then everybody will be in the database, except of course, the administrators.

      • [A]nyone but convicted criminals of things like rape, murder and assault

        And there's the problem. We can all agree that murder is wrong; I do not have the right to deprive you of your life against your will. We can all agree that rape is wrong; I do not have the right to impose myself upon you in a sexual manner without your consent. However, assault? Do you know what that is?

        In the UK [wikipedia.org] assault is (broadly) any action in which "... one intentionally or recklessly causes another person immediate and unlawful personal violence." It also applies to threatening behaviour, i.e. caus

    • by pavon (30274) on Thursday March 10, 2011 @03:17PM (#35445914)

      Yep, if the world were perfect, then none of these imperfections would matter.

      Till then we need multiple layers of checks and balances to decrease consolidate of power and preserve even a semblance of personal rights and freedom.

      • Above all (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Do you trust government and believe that their motives with this are nothing but moral, just, and selfless? I sure as hell don't. Given the track record of government, I have every reason to believe that their motives with this are (1) power, (2) revenue, and (3) precedent for the next expansion of power and revenue. After all, the bigger the business of government, the more lucrative that business is for those who can exploit it for personal gain. The elite who are actually calling the shots have a very go

      • by Candid88 (1292486)

        Till then we need multiple layers of checks and balances to decrease consolidate of power and preserve even a semblance of personal rights and freedom.

        Whilst I agree, I think the real underlying problem is revealed by your use of somewhat vague terms at the end of this sentence. No-one's actually been able to quantify exactly what "freedom" is.

        Freedom might be definable from a legal point of view (i.e. "rights"), but it isn't rationally definable.

        We kind of know what freedom and rights are, but without a quantified definition, we need to add impeding, undesirable and possibly unnecessary "layers of checks and balances" to cover all bases just in case.

        Howe

        • by ArsonSmith (13997)

          Freedom: Absence of force.

          It's quite simple actually.

          We give up a little freedom to government to prevent illegitimate force from criminals and others who would take much more. Governments grab more and more until they become no better than the criminals and others and a revolution comes to fruition, and it starts all over again.

    • by zzsmirkzz (974536) on Thursday March 10, 2011 @03:44PM (#35446266)
      Not to mention that the accuracy of the match is dependent on the statistical unlikeliness of two samples matching. The bigger the database the more likely to make a match or multiple matches based on one sample. The reason DNA evidence is accepted (as I understand it) is because it is very statistically unlikely that the suspect would match the sample found at the scene without being the person at the scene (one to one match). However, compare to everybody in the country/world and it is very likely match someone or more than one someone, but now doesn;t prove anything.
      • Look no further.

      • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Thursday March 10, 2011 @05:57PM (#35447788) Homepage

        To some extent, the larger the database, the more likely that false matches will be obvious, because they will match multiple people, which is an argument that the defense can use.
        If the database is, say, one thousand people, and the prosecutor says to the jury "the chance of this match occurring by chance is one in ten trillion!"-- well, chances are that he can't be easily contradicted.
        On the other hand, if the database is a hundred million people, and the prosecutor says to the jury "the chance of this match occurring by chance is one in ten trillion!"-- well, if he's also saying "ignore those other fifty matches, they're false positives"-- the jury is going to be suspicious.
        The larger database makes it much harder to get away with sloppy lab technique.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 10, 2011 @07:43PM (#35448700)

          Except that the keepers of CODIS actively seek to prevent dissemination of the knowledge that there are far more "collisions" in certain searches than should be statistically possible. Combine the number of collisions with the prosecutions oft stated mantra that a DNA "match" means suspect X did the crime and you have the potential for abuse that is difficult to reconcile with the principle of "innocent until proven guilty".

          DNA evidence is a very strong exclusionary tool, but I've never been convinced of the ability to prove guilt. There is no analysis of DNA in current DNA testing or the entries stored in CODIS; the entries are the compsci equivalent of MD5 hashes.

          See:
          FBI resists scrutiny of 'matches' [latimes.com]

          From the last page of the above article:

          ...

          In a database of fewer than 30,000 profiles, 32 pairs matched at nine or more loci. Three of those pairs were "perfect" matches, identical at 13 out of 13 loci.

          Experts say they most likely are duplicates or belong to identical twins or brothers. It's also possible that one of the matches is between unrelated people -- defying odds as remote as 1 in 1 quadrillion.

          Maryland officials never did the research to find out.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            It's bullet lead analysis all over again. The FBI wants something that sounds 'sciencey' that they can use to convict anyone they want. Bullet lead analysis was disproven, so now it's DNA, and everyone knows that DNA matches are infallible, right? Now to just rig the system to match any suspect that we want...

          • Except that the keepers of CODIS actively seek to prevent dissemination of the knowledge that there are far more "collisions" in certain searches than should be statistically possible.

            If they do that, this is withholding evidence, which is illegal.

            Perhaps we should worry more about prosecutors breaking the law.

      • by Kjella (173770)

        However, compare to everybody in the country/world and it is very likely match someone or more than one someone, but now doesn;t prove anything.

        Not everything has to be a smoking gun. For example they can try proving the suspect was there, it's a lot less likely that two people which happen to have the exact same DNA was in the same place when the murders occurred. If they have a good recent sample from the crime scene they can do a more thorough DNA comparison with the suspect. "Beyond a reasonable doubt" has never been 99.99999% guilty, most educated guesses put it at around 99%.

        In any case, this is more childhood diseases, as seen in the DNA seq

    • by Tom (822) on Thursday March 10, 2011 @04:42PM (#35447022) Homepage Journal

      Really? You have enough trust in the system that you are confident nobody will find out a new and - for a time - legal way to exploit that data?

      I'm not exactly a conservative, but I wouldn't want my DNA on record. Research has just begun, and your DNA code may yet turn out to be the root password to all kinds of interesting personal things. I'd rather that stays with me.

      • by skegg (666571) on Thursday March 10, 2011 @05:21PM (#35447430)

        Oh grow up, Tom.

        Any politician who looks straight into the camera and gives a firm, iron-clad promise that the database wouldn't be used for new purposes in the future would have my trust. A politician would never lie.

      • Research has just begun, and your DNA code may yet turn out to be the root password to all kinds of interesting personal things. I'd rather that stays with me.

        I think that's very misinformed on two grounds. (1) The "root password" metaphor is inappropriate. (2) Understanding the biological basis of disease is not something to be afraid of.

        There is no "root password" to real life. That metaphor belongs firmly in the domain of magic. Your DNA will not make it possible for third parties to influence you --- at least, no more than having your photograph, or knowing your true name.

        Without doubt, there will be some surprising personal information encoded in DN

        • by Tom (822)

          (2) Understanding the biological basis of disease is not something to be afraid of.

          And I didn't say anything even remotely like that.

          But for disease research, you don't need a database linking me with my DNA, and for disease research you wouldn't go taking DNA samples from criminals. That is specifically for future criminal investigations.

          Mostly, the personal things that make you "you" are not defined at birth.

          Certainly not, and even if they are we know that things change and bodies as well as minds evolve.

          Sure DNA information can be abused. And Americans will no doubt defend their right to do so in the interests of economic advancement or national security. But that's a very different problem.

          No, that exactly is the problem. Making a good differentiation between useful things - and what you need to accomplish them - and abuse. The most common sli

          • I agree about the excessive collection of information --- I think the expansion of DNA collection by law-enforcement agencies is scandalous and disgusting. It stratifies society, creating a group who are presumed to be a criminal underclass.

            But we have to fight it on legitimate grounds. The objection you proposed (that it could be in some sense a "root password" for personal information) is just wrong, and I explained why. The AC who also replied to me kindly illustrated just how silly the shrill object

      • You shed DNA constantly. We are all essentially "open source" biological entities. Once sequencing becomes dirt cheap (which isn't too far away) the equation will change dramatically. I see your point, but I believe the open source nature of DNA is one that is often forgotten.

        My guess (I could be wrong) is that ultimately having your DNA on file will be more advantageous than not because it will be available to anyone with nefarious intent anyway.
      • by Amouth (879122)

        i understand what you mean but i have a problem siding with someone that basically thinks their DNA might be the equivalent to some peoples believed "true" name.

    • by jmv (93421)

      I'm not sure it's even in the insurers' best long-term interest. If those with more risk stop getting insurance (too expensive) and those with less risk demand lower fees, then overall the insurer gets less money. In the extreme, if everyone knew *exactly* what was going to happen, insurers would no longer have any clients. Of course, we're not yet there, but it seems to me like the more knowledge there is, the less business for the insurers.

    • by StikyPad (445176)

      DNA databases are pointless at best, and dangerous at worst. It may sound sci-fi, but today's genetic therapy treatments will be tomorrow's plastic surgery. When people can change their genetics at will, what's the use in identifying someone by their genes? And what's the potential harm? These are questions we should be asking today, rather than 10-20 years from now when the DMV requires a cheek swab.

  • by srussia (884021) on Thursday March 10, 2011 @02:52PM (#35445572)
    Everyone who wants it on record, nobody who doesn't... oh, and CowboyNeal.
    • I thought CowboyNeal was the creepy guy who lives down the street or maybe I am?

      lol, a single entry database.

    • by xero314 (722674)

      Everyone who wants it on record, nobody who doesn't... oh, and CowboyNeal.

      Excluding the CowboyNeal part, this was my thought exactly.

  • How about letting a court decide as part of the punishment in a case by case basis? Perhaps being mandatory for certain crimes
    • I voted "Criminals convicted for serious offenses", and for serious offenses read violent offenses.
    • by magarity (164372)

      How about letting a court decide as part of the punishment in a case by case basis? Perhaps being mandatory for certain crimes

      Because ideally the courts are supposed to rule according to law, not according to what the judge happens to personally think is fair. So the courts should have a guideline in the form of legislation.

  • by SplatMan_DK (1035528) on Thursday March 10, 2011 @03:05PM (#35445768) Homepage Journal
    Ahemmm... Am I the only one who is surprised at the number of votes for the "Everybody but me" option?

    Could you people who votes for that option please consider the simple fact, that "Everybody but me" really sucks, because being the only person without a DNA profile actually makes you very easy to identify?

    ;-)

    - Jesper
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That depends on the concern. Some don't care about being identified, but would rather not let some companies (the insurance industry, for example) have that information about them.

      I'm not one of those. I voted "nobody" simply because it was the first option.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tacarat (696339)
      I have a twin and that option is just as useless for me. I swear he has about 22 illegitimate kids in Georgia, so I can't ever go there again. If I do, he'll make an anonymous tip about their father entering state. The paternity suit lawyers will all snag me at the airport and I'll be screwed without having done the screwing.

      Does that seem fair to you?
      • dont get mad, get even! even if you want to leave him one state to live in, that is still 48 states for you to concieve all the bastards you want!

      • by Chelloveck (14643)
        Gives you an excuse to stay out of Georgia. Sounds like a win to me!
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Your twin have a goatee perchance?

      • by kramerd (1227006)

        Although only identical twins have identical DNA, they do not have the same fingerprints. It shouldn't be a problem for you to travel provided you have yours on record.

        • by MoonBuggy (611105)

          I'm no biologist, so I'm hoping this doesn't sound like too foolish a question: what dictates the pattern of the fingerprints if it's not encoded in the DNA?

          • by kramerd (1227006)

            Fingerprints are formed during gestation, they are simply ridges that form on the outermost layer of skin of the fingertips. As you age, the size changes, but not the pattern.

          • many, many things are not encoded in DNA... but get that way through processes during "development". The most striking examples are the detailed wiring and layout of your brain, which depends on specific input from the outside world, as well as many other events that are essentially random. So no, not even your clone would be the same as you...

        • by jamesh (87723)

          But any paternity test will reveal that he is the father, no matter what his fingerprints say. That's the problem.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm surprised by how few people went for the "Anybody who is arrested" option... because in the UK at least, that's the current situation. Go figure!

      • The anybody who is arrested option has been demonstrated to cause police to start making arrests over trivial or trumped up matters for the express purpose of collecting dna for the database. Since a conviction is unnecessary for the purpose of collecting dna, it doesn't need to be something for which they have any hope of securing a conviction. Traffic offences suffice for this purpose as well. Since most slashdotters are aware of this drawback, I imagine that's why so few support it.
  • If there's going to be collection of DNA samples from everyone arrested for * the only way I could possibly see supporting that would be to make sure there was a real and transparent way for having that data removed if they were not convicted.

    What's the point then of collecting upon arrest? Exactly.

  • Missing Option (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Digital Vomit (891734) on Thursday March 10, 2011 @03:26PM (#35446042) Homepage Journal
    There's a missing option: Politicians and Law Enforcement Officials
    • by wagr (1070120)

      I'd support option like "People nominated for serious offices."

      • by netsharc (195805)

        There's probably a record of Obama's DNA somewhere, considering how paranoid the Secret Service seem... in case the reds* bring in an Obama look-alike, they can do a DNA-check to find out if it's the real Obama or not.

        * or whoever the evil monster du-jour ist...

      • I'd support option like "People nominated for serious offices."

        I have just one rule and there is no DNA database necessary for that: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.

        (Shamelessly stolen from Douglas Adams)

    • And the Priests of sexually repressive religions.

    • by dacarr (562277)
      Had I the moderator votes, I'd +1 you. =)
  • These choices remind me of a theory of handgun ownership. Either no one should own one, or everyone should own one. There is little similarity regarding the actual issues at play, so please don't examine the analogy too closely.
    • by Kittenman (971447)

      These choices remind me of a theory of handgun ownership. Either no one should own one, or everyone should own one. There is little similarity regarding the actual issues at play, so please don't examine the analogy too closely.

      It also didn't involve a car. (Slashdot rule #406. All analogies should involve a car in some way).

    • by jamesh (87723)

      Exactly. Except for the bit about handguns.

  • I have no problem with my DNA being sampled and recorded for eternity. My very real problems lie with who has access to that data, and how they expect to use it.

    I have variously read that in agriculture, fields of GM crops are contaminating non-GM plantings, to the supposed detriment of large corporate enterprises despite their desire to restrict that contamination. How far-spread is my own DNA, given that I have had no desire to restrict contamination of bus seats, roads, rubbish bins, toilet seats, gard

  • I don't give a shit because I believe in nothing Lebowski NOTHING. Hope the whole system goes up in smoke.

  • Attaching several megabits of noise to it won't make one damn bit of difference.
  • We need to clone these women. Or isolate the genes that make them hot, then create super model designer babies ASAP.

  • ..While the police control both the database, and the sampling process, no-one should have their DNA taken as there is widespread scope for police falsification of data.
  • If records were kept for everybody except for one person, then that person's DNA is identifiable by merit of being the one that isn't on record.

  • People realise the social implications of having a DNA list of everyone. It does not just record who you are but your biological ancestry. Just as it is possible for someone to pay a private detective to find a vehicle from the number plate now, I suspect that the same will happen with DNA access if there is a universal database. Do we really want sperm donors to be able to track down their offspring? Or a kid to check if their dad is the biological father?
  • Sounds like a conspiracy from William Stryker!

    No one must know of my inhuman ability to habituate subterraneanly, whist subsisting on pizza frozen snacks, unmoving for hours at a time in front of computational devices, not procreating....

    • by pbjones (315127)

      That option seems to be missing whenever a poll is being conducted by government sympathisers who wish to canvas public opinion on serious issues, or if the person who makes up the list is a bit lazy.

  • I know that you can identify someone from DNA without having the complete genome. I would accept having the rough equivalent of a fingerprint on file. A "just detailed enough to be certain of identity" DNA profile, for convicted felons, would be just fine. The modern equivalent of a fingerprint database.

    But *NOT* for "everyone", not even for misdemeanor convictions, most certainly not for people who are only arrested without conviction. (Although their DNA can be collected and tested against DNA from crimes, their DNA can't be kept in the database.)

  • people whoa re currently serving time or paroled. After which, ti should be destroyed.

Passwords are implemented as a result of insecurity.

 



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