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A DNA Database For All U.S. Workers? 625

fragmer writes "New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg suggested a plan on Wednesday that would establish a DNA or fingerprint database to track and verify all legal U.S. workers. The mayor said DNA and fingerprint technology could be used to create a worker ID database that will 'uniquely identify the person' applying for a job, ensuring that cards are not illegally transferred or forged. Bloomberg compared his proposed federal identification database to the Social Security card, insisting that such a system would not violate citizens' privacy and was not a civil liberties issue."
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A DNA Database For All U.S. Workers?

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  • Sounds Familiar (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Fullaxx ( 657461 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @01:19PM (#15416375)
    Gattaca anyone?
  • Too much TV. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 27, 2006 @01:22PM (#15416391)
    Bloomberg is a dumbass who watches too much TV. DNA comparisons take weeks to perform, not 5 minutes like on television procedural police dramas. Can you imagine having to wait 4 to 6 weeks every time you cross a border, fly on an airplane, perform a transaction at the DMV, etc. while someone checks out your DNA to verify your identity?
  • Social Security? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sinclair44 ( 728189 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @01:22PM (#15416392) Homepage
    Bloomberg compared his proposed federal identification database to the Social Security card, insisting that such a system would not violate citizens' privacy and was not a civil liberties issue.
    Yes, I'm sure. Just like when social security was first introduced, we were assured that it wouldn't be abused and used for identification at all -- only social security. That has certainly held over time.
  • by ivan256 ( 17499 ) * on Saturday May 27, 2006 @01:22PM (#15416395)
    However, the first time they use it to identify a criminal, thus making every person in the database a potential suspect, it becomes a civil liberties issue.
  • by dcollins ( 135727 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @01:24PM (#15416401) Homepage
    "You don't have to work - but if you want to work for a company you have to have a Social Security card," he said.

    You see, to a Republican, working is purely optional.

  • by jabbo ( 860 ) <jabbo@yahoo. c o m> on Saturday May 27, 2006 @01:27PM (#15416418)
    > Bloomberg compared his proposed federal identification database to the
    > Social Security card, insisting that such a system would not violate
    > citizens' privacy and was not a civil liberties issue.

    I'm sure that when a CD-ROM containing DNA markers for every single worker in New York's economy is obtained by the Russian mafia after being stolen from a (vendor|employee|contractor)'s (house|car|laptop), the tight security afforded by the mandatory (fingerprint|weak encryption|screen door) security will be of great comfort to the affected. And instead of some artificial construct like a SSN, a physically significant identity will have been stolen.

    Not to mention that completely resequencing a human's genome is incredibly expensive even today.

    What an incredible jackass. If this comes to pass, move to Singapore, at least they seem to have some grip on what makes business work there.
  • by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Saturday May 27, 2006 @01:31PM (#15416443)
    Does this moron know how much it would COST to do that? We're talking a DNA sample from every working age adult (15 to ...?).

    Just WHAT is this supposed to give us? Are employers who currently hire illegal aliens suddenly going to pay for DNA/fingerprinting of their employees to find out if they're legal?

    Or is this another expense for the immigration department / police departments? Will they have to check the DNA of everyone they arrest on immigration issues?

    That guy is an idiot.

    Even without the Civil Liberty issues, this idea would be too expensive to implement and yield NOTHING.

    It looks like "immigration" is this year's "child porn". All you politicians need to get on "immigration" today!
  • 1. Government notices problem.
    2. Media takes problem, makes it a big news story.
    3. Government takes problem and introduces legislation that does more to restrict ordinary law-abiding citizens.
    4. Profit (More Power)

    How many years was illegal immigration going on and companies using them (persumably this DNA database will be designed to curtail that)? And when exactly did the government/news decide to make it a central issue? The governemnt must have seen what a great tool fear, distrust, and anger were to gain power for themselves.
  • Re:Privacy Violation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by everett ( 154868 ) <efeldt AT efeldt DOT com> on Saturday May 27, 2006 @01:32PM (#15416454) Homepage
    Simple solution, copyright your DNA sequence and then sue anyone that obtains it illegally for copyright infringement, since this is America you will win.
  • Re:Social Security? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jcr ( 53032 ) <> on Saturday May 27, 2006 @01:43PM (#15416509) Journal
    Not only that, the census bureau routinely promises that census data will not be used for any illegal purpose, and they even lie about the fact that it was used in the 1940s to round up american citizens of Japanese ancestry to ship them to concentration camps.

  • Amendment IX (Score:3, Interesting)

    by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Saturday May 27, 2006 @01:53PM (#15416559)
    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
    Just because it is not specifically listed in the Constitution (or Bill of Rights) does not mean that it is not a Right.

    The problem we're having right now is that our government is intent upon restricting Rights. This story is a great example of that kind of "logic".

    Instead, we need to focus more on the Constitution and show that their power-grabs do NOT conform to the very blatantly stated restricted powers of government.

    Rather than try to ammend the Constitution (or pass laws) to protect each Right of the People, we need to demand that the Government show a Constitutional basis for each of their laws.

    And looking through the Constitution, I don't see anything supporting the Government's desire to collect information on citizens who are NOT accused of any crime.

    Until they amend the Constitution to include that, then they are NOT allowed to do so.
  • by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @01:55PM (#15416568)

    And I wish that people would remember that Government works for us and we give them their power.

    No. The monopoly on violence the government holds gives it power. Specifically, the backing of armed forces - US Army - is what gives the US Government its power. You have power over it only when you have a real chance of overthrowing it; at that point the government might listen out of self-preservation. Democracy was supposed to ensure that the public always has this power, and can use it in a bloodless manner, but it's working less and less well.

    I don't know if there's a solution. As soon as humans band together into large enough groups you need government to keep them from killing each other; but since that government needs to hold near-total monopoly on violence to accomplish this and is made from human beings it will inevitably end up abusing its power. Any attempt to stop this process only slows it down; and even if you stop the actual government from growing out of control, it simply provides a power vacuum for aristocracy or corporations / robber parons to do it instead.

    Maybe it's the nature of human race that we must have revolutions every few generations to keep things working.

    Too many folks act like they're subjects of the Government.

    The correct term, I believe, is consumer.

  • Not at IBM (Score:4, Interesting)

    by aktzin ( 882293 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @01:55PM (#15416570)
    When I see Big Brother-ish proposals like this I'm glad my employer is showing some decency and respect for privacy: tml []
  • by thrillseeker ( 518224 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @02:34PM (#15416721)
    Even if the workers are illegal they are paying taxes so that's at least a good thing.

    Then why is it that Texas, which has no personal income tax, but gathers their revenue via a sales tax, has a far less illegal alien problem than California, which has one of the highest income taxes of the states, but a lower sales tax?

    The actual problem are the employers hiring illegals and paying them under the table.

    The problem is we have created a system where taxes are collected by employers, and not via some sort of sales tax system that all must participate in. This makes criminals out of people wanting to do something as simple as hire a babysitter.

    This problem exists because we try to milk the "rich" (those who receive more than the average) for more of taxes than the rest of us.

  • Re:Oh Orwell (Score:5, Interesting)

    by voice_of_all_reason ( 926702 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @02:42PM (#15416743)
    Actually, power lies with guns (as it always has), whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive that it is the Duty of the People to alter or abolish it.
  • by voice_of_all_reason ( 926702 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @02:48PM (#15416767)
    In New York, attacking an employee of the government (Bloomberg may indeed qualifty) is a greater crime than attacking a regular citizen. All other things being equal, this could be as much a difference of 3 1/2 years for the latter and 7 years for the former.

    All people are equal. Some are more equal than others.
  • Governing Hacks (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 27, 2006 @02:52PM (#15416781)
    My home is supposed to be private from improper government entry, according to the US Constitution. My body should be included private, under the same provisions. Herr Bloomberg and King George might not think so, but their conveniences and contrivances don't determine our unalienable rights---though many of those rights have already been tweaked. Does anyone in this country believe in privacy and democracy anymore? I'm really fed up with being protected from myself at my own expense. I want protection from these governing hacks.
  • by Dogun ( 7502 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @03:10PM (#15416850) Homepage
    I see this as a women's rights issue, in addition to the obvious 'they looked at our DNA!' complaint.

    No employer is ever going to just take a single hair or a few skin scrapings. They're going to want blood, and more than just a finger prick. If they do that before getting back to you with a decision, they could be screening for, say... PREGNANCY. SSRI's. Who knows what.

    Even if the system were perfect it would give employers a blank check to perform unwelcome and illegal tests on job applicants. And that just ain't cool.
  • by flobberchops ( 971724 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @03:51PM (#15417011)
    Stupid Yank. That is obvioulsy why the IRA owned South Armagh and even the police had to be flown in and could not use the roads for safety, even garbage had to be flown out by helicopter from the bases (until the SAS came in and played them at their own game with their underhanded tactics). Get your facts right. Terrorists did a HUGE amount of damage to the UK government and over a LONG period of time. The UK Government had no chance against the populance that dispised them so much.
  • by raehl ( 609729 ) <raehl311@yahoo. c o m> on Saturday May 27, 2006 @05:24PM (#15417481) Homepage
    I'm just using inflamatory subject lines to get posts read. :)

    But back to you:

    But you contradict yourself because in your original post you said bombs weren't effective

    There's no contradiction. I said guns are so useless that terrorsts prefer to use bombs. I didn't say bombs were effective at fighting governments.

    What you need to do is take a chill pill, relax a bit and open your eyes and take a LOOK. Otherwise you could spend the rest of your life in your alternate reality.

    A look at what? The argument that guns are necessary to or effective at protecting the populace from the government is a stupid one. The only way you can believe it is by ignoring excessive, practical evidence that guns are useless at resisting a modernly armed government. That's reality.
  • by unapersson ( 38207 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @05:41PM (#15417558) Homepage
    I think you need to re-read what he said. He seemed less foaming at the mouth and more frustrated that people fail to understand a very simple concept. He's saying that guns, the greatest source of all freedom according to some, are useless in practice and that anyone fighting a genuine resistance movement have had to fall back on bombs or other dirty measures when met by superior firepower. It's quite a simple idea really.

    Guns do let your enemy know where you are. If they've got the firepower, firing a gun at them can hurt you a lot more than it hurts them.

    It's all about a level playing field, we're two hundred years past guns equalling a level playing field unless you're talking about inner city gang warfare. If people seriously think they can take down a government with handguns then they're seriously deluded, they idea might give them a warm glow but it's nothing more than an illusion. The best they can really do is team up with a foreign power that is looking to take over.

    That's why in a democracy, however flawed, the best way to overthrow a government is via the ballot box.
  • Re:your point being? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Casualposter ( 572489 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @09:13PM (#15418357) Journal
    (1) The US military is made up of volunteers who would have to come back to American soil and kill members of their families for some politician. Not EVERY soldier will do this. Many will join the opposition. Your assumption appears to be that the American soldier does not think about his orders. He does. He must. American soldiers are not mindless killing droids. They are very well educated and trained in comparison with most of the military forces through out the world. They are not going to kill their own people with the same ease they would strangers.

    (2) The US military would be fighting itself on its own ground. The best way to view this is by reading about the last Civil War we had. Neither the rebellion, nor the Republican attempted Coup that followed succeeded in over throwing the US constitution. The fight was long, bloody, and demonstrated that americans can fight a long war with barely enough to fight with. I would not bet on who would win in another civil war.

    (3) The US has one of the most heavily armed and trained populaces in the world. Many of our citizens are military or ex military. We keep our skills in marksmanship good because we enjoy it. The highly advanced and trained US military is losing in Iraq and lost in Vietnam because the only totally successful conquest of other people has been and is to kill everyone on the other side to destroy them utterly. Sherman practiced this type of warfare on his march through the south to the Atlantic Ocean. The American settlers practiced this on the indigenous populace.

    (4) The Jews in the Ghetto did not have an entire country for territory and were mostly unsupported by the general populace. They are a better comparison to the Branch Davidians, who were small, lightly armed, unsupported by the general populace, and surrounded. Sure, any group of lightly armed people when facing an army superior in arms and numbers will lose, but this has been true since Tsun Tsu was writing his first page.

    (5) As for thinking that the average American soldier will be better supplied than some guy in his neighborhood, think twice about that. The soldier will be in both unfriendly and unfamiliar territory, most likely, and most of us folks out here in the suburbs are armed and well armed at that. Maybe folks in New York City will have trouble finding guns, ammo, and first aid supplies, but in my neighborhood we have plenty. That soldier will have to carry his stuff with him. Big difference and every attempt to deprive a rebellious populace of its supplies increases the number of rebels.

    (6) Any civil war in America will be fought like the revolutionary war and the civil war: bloody nasty, and done in sneaky ways. To hell with engaging a tank with a .22. I'll leave a bomb beside the road and set it off with a few parts from radio shack. Americans are ingenious and all of that fancy ass technology is vulnerable and subject to attack by the very people who designed and built it.

    I would really like to see the US government return to being a government of the people and by the people and for the people, and get off of this destructive fascist kick. This DNA database would be mismanaged, wrong, and misused. No good will come of it. Hell the Veterans bureau can't even keep up with Veteran's information. The DOD has "lost" a trillion dollars worth of "stuff" they can't find.

    The government should mind the business of keeping the roads working, the infrastructure intact, the poor and disabled fed, and keeping the military a lean mean "don't even think about fucking with us" fighting machine.

    Leave the rest of it to the people.

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson