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Law Enforcement Agencies To Collect More DNA

April 20, 2009

According to a New York Times report, US federal and state law enforcement agencies are expanding their DNA collection to include those who are arrested or detained, not only those who are convicted.

The move is raising concerns over the privacy of minor offenders.

Previously, law enforcement agencies only collected samples from those who were convicted.

Starting this month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, along with 15 states, will begin collecting DNA samples of those awaiting trial, and detained immigrants.

The FBI expects to see its DNA database growth rate increase from 80,000 new entries a year to 1.2 million by 2012.  The government agency already has 6.7 million DNA profiles in its database.

Criminal experts worry the US is becoming a genetic surveillance society, The Times reported.

According to the report, minors are required to provide DNA samples in 35 states when convicted.

Sixteen states will also take DNA from those guilty of misdemeanor charges.

“What we object to — and what the Constitution prohibits — is the indiscriminate taking of DNA for things like writing an insufficient funds check, shoplifting, drug convictions,” Michael Risher, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, told The Times.

According to the paper, California expects to double the growth rate of its database from 200,000 profiles a year, to 390,000 profiles.

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