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Privacy

Yale Law Student Wants Government To Have Everybody's DNA 544

An anonymous reader writes "Michael Seringhaus, a Yale Law School student, writes in the NY Times, 'To Stop Crime, Share Your Genes.' In order to prevent discrimination when it comes to collecting DNA samples from criminals (and even people who are simply arrested), he proposes that the government collect a DNA profile from everybody, perhaps at birth (yes, you heard that right)." Regarding the obvious issue of genetic privacy, Seringhaus makes this argument: "Your sensitive genetic information would be safe. A DNA profile distills a person’s complex genomic information down to a set of 26 numerical values, each characterizing the length of a certain repeated sequence of 'junk' DNA that differs from person to person. Although these genetic differences are biologically meaningless — they don’t correlate with any observable characteristics — tabulating the number of repeats creates a unique identifier, a DNA 'fingerprint.' The genetic privacy risk from such profiling is virtually nil, because these records include none of the health and biological data present in one’s genome as a whole."
Government

Washington State Wants DNA From All Arrestees 570

An anonymous reader writes in to say that "Suspects arrested in cases as minor as shoplifting would have to give a DNA sample before they are even charged with a crime if a controversial proposal is approved by the Legislature. "It is good technology. It solves crimes," claims Don Pierce, executive director of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. Under the bill, authorities would supposedly destroy samples and DNA profiles from people who weren't charged, were found not guilty or whose convictions were overturned. Others believe that this is just another step in the process to build a national DNA database with everyone in it."

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