Friday, April 25, 2008

Civil Liberties

Kim du Toit notes that the Justice Department wants to build a DNA data base of anyone "arrested, facing charges, or convicted" who gets their fingerprints taken.

Like Kim, I can see compelling convicted felons to give up DNA samples, but to compel it for every person arrested?

So if you get pulled over for speeding, and refuse to give a breathalyzer sample, that's reason to put you permanently in the DNA database. Or how 'bout this, you get arrested because an officer thinks you are someone else. I worried about this once, a buddy of mine and I got pulled over and surrounded by three squad cars, because he was driving a "black SUV" and I matched the description of one of a pair of guys in a "black SUV" that had been doing break-ins that morning. (After the officers looked at our ID, they gave it back and apologized, saying that we were way to old to be the perps.) And of course, your local DA would never issue an arrest warrant for somebody based on flimsy evidence (sudden cough that sounds like "Nifong!").

This is a bad bad idea.

Here is the contact info, where you should let them know, politely that this is unconscionable.

DATES: Written comments must be submitted on or before May 19, 2008.

ADDRESSES: Comments may be mailed to
David J. Karp, Senior Counsel,
Office of Legal Policy, Room 4509, Main Justice Building,
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.,
Washington, DC 20530.

To ensure proper handling, please reference OAG Docket No. 119 on your correspondence.
You may submit comments electronically or view an electronic version of this proposed rule at

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David J. Karp, Senior Counsel, Office of Legal Policy. Telephone: (202) 514-3273.

Thanks Kim!

But remember, the worst threat to our civil liberties is the evile Bush Administration tapping the cell phones of terrorists...

UPDATE:Bioephemera notes that GINA, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act passed the Senate unanimously. More at Scientific American. So write to your Senators and Congresspersons, they may actually be in the mood to deal with stuff like this appropriately.

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