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posted by cmn32480 on Thursday August 20 2015, @09:29PM   Printer-friendly
from the privacy-vs.-catching-crooks dept.

From the EFF Press Release:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI to gain access to documents revealing the government's plans to use Rapid DNA. The FBI said it found no records responsive to EFF's FOIA requests, even though it's been working to roll out Rapid DNA and lobbying Congress to approve nationwide use for more than five years.

Rapid DNA analyzers—laser printer-sized, portable machines that allow anyone to process a DNA sample in as little as 50 minutes—are the newest frontier in DNA collection and profiling in law enforcement. With Rapid DNA, the police can collect a a DNA sample from a suspect, extract a profile, and match that profile against a database in less time than it takes to book someone—and it's all done by non-scientists in the field, well outside an accredited lab.

"EFF has long been concerned about the privacy risks associated with collecting, testing, storing and sharing of genetic data. The use of Rapid DNA stands to vastly increase the collection of DNA, because it makes it much easier for the police to get it from anyone they want, whenever they want. The public has a right to know how this will be carried out and how the FBI will protect peoples' privacy," said Jennifer Lynch, EFF senior staff attorney. ''Rapid DNA can't accurately extract a profile from evidence containing commingled body fluids, increasing the risk that people could be mistakenly linked to crimes they didn't commit.''


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Politics: DNA Databases in the U.S. and China are Tools of Racial Oppression 166 comments

DNA Databases in the U.S. and China Are Tools of Racial Oppression

Two major world powers, the United States and China, have both collected an enormous number of DNA samples from their citizens, the premise being that these samples will help solve crimes that might have otherwise gone unsolved. While DNA evidence can often be crucial when it comes to determining who committed a crime, researchers argue these DNA databases also pose a major threat to human rights.

In the U.S., the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has a DNA database called the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) that currently contains over 14 million DNA profiles. This database has a disproportionately high number of profiles of black men, because black Americans are arrested five times as much as white Americans. You don't even have to be convicted of a crime for law enforcement to take and store your DNA; you simply have to have been arrested as a suspect.

[...] As for China, a report that was published by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in mid-June claims that China is operating the "world's largest police-run DNA database" as part of its powerful surveillance state. Chinese authorities have collected DNA samples from possibly as many as 70 million men since 2017, and the total database is believed to contain as many as 140 million profiles. The country hopes to collect DNA from all of its male citizens, as it argues men are most likely to commit crimes.

DNA is reportedly often collected during what are represented as free physicals, and it's also being collected from children at schools. There are reports of Chinese citizens being threatened with punishment by government officials if they refuse to give a DNA sample. Much of the DNA that's been collected has been from Uighur Muslims that have been oppressed by the Chinese government and infamously forced into concentration camps in the Xinjiang province.

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  • (Score: 2) by edIII on Thursday August 20 2015, @09:41PM

    by edIII (791) on Thursday August 20 2015, @09:41PM (#225592)

    DNA sample from a suspect, extract a profile, and match that profile against a database in less time than it takes to book someone

    Everyone is a suspect. Apparently, talking back to a rude and racist state trooper can get you killed in jail over the weekend. So, how many cops are going to be performing their own profiling to see who *obviously* needs to be profiled?

    Less time than it takes to book someone? It's also less time than:

    - it takes to perform proper science in controlled lab settings
    - all that pesky due process whereby the time and effort must be spent to process you, inform you of your rights, allow you a chance to respond with proper legal counsel, etc.
    - to mount any kind of defense, or the time necessary for cooler heads to prevail, additional evidence to come forward (you know--- like cops catching the bastard across town that you're suspected of being)

    Basically, this is just one more way for the government to strong arm itself into your DNA. It is, after all, just a collection of information about you. We all know how much government just loves Big Data. You JAYWALKED!! We get your DNA!! I'm reminded of the annoying tax collector in Popeye furiously coming up with any reason to get your "taxes".

    Why doesn't government just get it over with all ready and formally declare that it's Purely UnPatriotic to brandish the weapon that is privacy against them, at every level, including your blood?

    What the fuck are they thinking anyways?? This is the FBI, people who have been responsible for developing forensic techniques, pushing out methods that no scientist would respect for a nanosecond. It's almost as if they don't actually give a shit about real justice or the search for the truth.

    --
    Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
    • (Score: 1) by Locust-Of-Control on Thursday August 20 2015, @09:53PM

      by Locust-Of-Control (5815) on Thursday August 20 2015, @09:53PM (#225595)

      But dude, what about the children! And evil dangerous villains such as this? [muckrock.com]

    • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Thursday August 20 2015, @09:57PM

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Thursday August 20 2015, @09:57PM (#225598) Homepage

      Locally in San Diego there have been reports such as this [geneticprivacynetwork.org] one of police demanding DNA samples without arrest or probable cause. I tried but couldn't find the instances of the cops getting DNA swabs from routine traffic stops and without probable cause.

      Since American police departments just do whatever the fuck they want nowadays, don't be surprised if you are compelled to give up a cheek-swab during your next routine traffic stop.

      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by edIII on Thursday August 20 2015, @11:28PM

        by edIII (791) on Thursday August 20 2015, @11:28PM (#225617)

        don't be surprised if you are compelled to give up a cheek-swab during your next routine traffic stop.

        Don't be surprised if I'm on the international fucking news that night. If cops want my blood at a traffic stop, they WILL be swabbing it off the ground after they shoot me.

        That's not hyperbole, or intended as bravado. I'm a fucking American that loves my freedom, and loves what the potential of America could be, and what it might have once been. Any officer trying to take my blood needs to know that they will face national public scrutiny when you're all talking about how I died. I have no other choice available to me, either.

        I may be a disilllusioned misanthrope, but above all I am American. I will resist at all costs, including my death, any attempts to curtail my freedoms guaranteed to me by the U.S Constitution and basic human rights. I will die well, and with pride. If it were World War II, I would have volunteered for service without hesitation. I cannot *possibly* be unique in this, and simply have to be preaching to a rather large choir of people that strongly feel "Death First" when speaking about abrogating the U.S Constitution and establishing a totalitarian police state.

        Were I to collapse in fear and give in to those terrorists with badges, life would lose whatever appeal it had left, and I would be no different than a citizen under ISIS control. No freedoms, just life under terrorism with only your faith and hope that you won't be the next one abused. What's that saying? "Rather to die on my feet, than live on my knees?"

        The ONLY way they get my blood, is after being booked for a crime, and it's a forensic expert taking it at the police station..... and boy howdy, they better be able to survive an audit. Meaning, I better look really fucking close to the description of the man they were trying to get. Otherwise, they just forever violated my person without purpose, and outside of due process, and wholly and irredeemably without ethics or morality. I'm not interested in suing them after the fact, but making sure it was such a horrific pain in the ass to deal with my death, that it gives them pause to continue and violate any other American's rights.

        Man, law enforcement is becoming indistinguishable from private police pushing monied interests and state sponsored systems of control not designed to service the citizen, but the state.

        --
        Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
        • (Score: 2) by pnkwarhall on Friday August 21 2015, @12:07AM

          by pnkwarhall (4558) on Friday August 21 2015, @12:07AM (#225624)

          You're from New Hampshire, right?

          --
          Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven
          • (Score: 2) by edIII on Friday August 21 2015, @12:38AM

            by edIII (791) on Friday August 21 2015, @12:38AM (#225630)

            West Coast, actually.

            If I had to characterize myself, which seems to be your real question, it would be a hippie beach bum from Orange County.

            So... is New Hampshire the home of freedom fanatics like me or something?

            --
            Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 21 2015, @12:56AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 21 2015, @12:56AM (#225639)

              New Hampshire's motto is live free or die.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 21 2015, @06:09AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 21 2015, @06:09AM (#225726)

                They also don't mandate usage of seatbelts in cars, so there's that kind freedom...
                It's more of a I will participate in death because I an dumb enough to exercise my freedom to not wear my seatbelt.

            • (Score: 2) by kurenai.tsubasa on Friday August 21 2015, @01:56PM

              by kurenai.tsubasa (5227) on Friday August 21 2015, @01:56PM (#225838) Journal

              So... is New Hampshire the home of freedom fanatics like me or something?

              Bingo. [freestateproject.org]

        • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Friday August 21 2015, @03:09AM

          by mhajicek (51) on Friday August 21 2015, @03:09AM (#225681)

          "I will resist at all costs, including my death, any attempts to curtail my freedoms guaranteed to me by the U.S Constitution and basic human rights."

          Our constitutionally guaranteed rights are violated every day.

          --
          The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 21 2015, @11:43AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 21 2015, @11:43AM (#225791)

            By the TSA, by government thugs anywhere near the border, by the NSA, by the drug war, by DUI checkpoints, by asset forfeiture, by stingrays, and by numerous other things. But we're the land of the free, and we have lots of brave people living here. Really.

        • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 21 2015, @01:54PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 21 2015, @01:54PM (#225837)

          Excuse me to rain on your parade but if your death were to be on the news, you’d just be a “dangerous criminal killed while resisting arrest at a traffic stop.”

        • (Score: 2) by fliptop on Friday August 21 2015, @03:03PM

          by fliptop (1666) on Friday August 21 2015, @03:03PM (#225878) Journal

          I cannot *possibly* be unique in this

          You're not.

          --
          Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
  • (Score: 3, Funny) by bob_super on Thursday August 20 2015, @10:33PM

    by bob_super (1357) on Thursday August 20 2015, @10:33PM (#225606)

    Like 1984 before it, Gattaca wasn't intended to be a manual.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Fluffeh on Thursday August 20 2015, @11:01PM

      by Fluffeh (954) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 20 2015, @11:01PM (#225609) Journal

      What I think you meant to say that 1984 wasn't a manual - and Gattaca wasn't supposed to be an add-expansion pack for it!

  • (Score: 2) by Gravis on Friday August 21 2015, @02:18PM

    by Gravis (4596) on Friday August 21 2015, @02:18PM (#225850)

    ''Rapid DNA can't accurately extract a profile from evidence containing commingled body fluids, increasing the risk that people could be mistakenly linked to crimes they didn't commit.''

    as someone with a bit more knowledge of the technology, i can tell you that DNA can be extracted from saliva with ease and reliability. here's the kicker, even if the machine somehow managed to get it wrong, the chances of it spitting out a matching result are astronomical.

    what they should be focusing on is the issue of privacy because the machine is more reliable than labs.