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Wally
2005-Jan-11, 01:09 PM
From this (http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/01/10/cape.cod.murder.ap/index.html) CNN article. Some town in Mass. is requesting all men to give a sample of their DNA in order to aid in solving a 3 year old murder case. The ACLU (Amer. Civil Liberties Union, for you guys overseas) is, of course, protesting the move.

My question. Would you, or wouldn't you, give a sample? I consider myself conservative (more fiscally so than socially, I will admit), and heaven's knows I'd like to see the murderer caught, but there's no way on god's green earth I'd voluntarily give the government a sample of my DNA! It's just none of their gosh darn business, period!

Along the same line, I'm totally against the so called "roadside safety checks", which some state (fortunately, not Michigan!) allow. These are actually sobriety checkpoints, where the cops set up roadblocks and "randomly" stop cars for no reason to see if the driver's been drinking. How can this NOT be considered unlawful search and seisure, considering the cops have 0 reasons to detain you when they stop your car. It's been upheld in some states by courts claiming a "greater good" for the people outways an individual's rights.

To me, that is not only wrong, it's just darn right scary! What next? Police randomly searching my home just to make sure I'm not planning to take over the government??? :evil:

Bawheid
2005-Jan-11, 01:38 PM
I wouldn't give a sample. Mainly the same reasons as Wally, plus mistakes get made.

WHarris
2005-Jan-11, 01:40 PM
Along the same line, I'm totally against the so called "roadside safety checks", which some state (fortunately, not Michigan!) allow. These are actually sobriety checkpoints, where the cops set up roadblocks and "randomly" stop cars for no reason to see if the driver's been drinking. How can this NOT be considered unlawful search and seisure, considering the cops have 0 reasons to detain you when they stop your car. It's been upheld in some states by courts claiming a "greater good" for the people outways an individual's rights.


Actually, all cars are stopped at sobriety checkpoints. There's nothing random about them.

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2005-Jan-11, 01:46 PM
The Searches are a Bit Extreme, and Shouldn't be Allowed to Happen.

On the Other Hand, I see Little Reason, for a Law-Abiding Citizen, to NOT Have his DNA on File.

My Reasoning is Thus: If you didn't do it, your DNA, Will Prove that; Furthermore, if Everyone in a Town, Comes Forward, except for a Few People, the Police can Restrict their Search to them, and Just Maybe, Make an Arrest.

Just Remember, The TRUTH, Will Set you Free!

Wally
2005-Jan-11, 01:47 PM
Along the same line, I'm totally against the so called "roadside safety checks", which some state (fortunately, not Michigan!) allow. These are actually sobriety checkpoints, where the cops set up roadblocks and "randomly" stop cars for no reason to see if the driver's been drinking. How can this NOT be considered unlawful search and seisure, considering the cops have 0 reasons to detain you when they stop your car. It's been upheld in some states by courts claiming a "greater good" for the people outways an individual's rights.


Actually, all cars are stopped at sobriety checkpoints. There's nothing random about them.

I've heard that, but I've also heard some states get around this violation of our basic rights by only stopping cars randomly (I think Illinois uses this ploy). Courts have upheld that as long as the stops are random, it somehow doesn't infringe upon our freedom. . . :roll:

Swift
2005-Jan-11, 02:07 PM
I'm with the ACLU on this one. Get a judge to say there is probably cause for me personally and get a search warrant. The Fourth Amendment says

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
I think this falls under "secure in their persons".

Joe The Dude
2005-Jan-11, 02:08 PM
How is having your DNA on file any different than having your footprints taken at birth, or fingerprints taken when you get your driver's license?

Is it because the information about your biology that is contained in the DNA might be used to discriminate against certain people like in that Gattaca movie?
#-o

Seriously, though, what with free elections I don't see that extreme happening here in the US. :lol:

I agree with ZaphodBeeblebrox. Having one's DNA on file will save the taxpayer a lot of money, as well as cut down on court costs, in the long run.

Swift
2005-Jan-11, 02:11 PM
How is having your DNA on file any different than having your footprints taken at birth, or fingerprints taken when you get your driver's license?
I don't know about Texas, but in Ohio, you don't give your fingerprints when you get a license; in fact, of the four states I've lived in, I've never heard of that.

gethen
2005-Jan-11, 02:13 PM
Wouldn't the concern be that the information on your DNA might get into the wrong hands, like maybe your insurance company? I suppose that the government would say that wouldn't happen, but who knows? And why are they not also asking for womens' DNA samples. Aside from the murder, wouldn't you think everyone should have to have their DNA on file?

Wally
2005-Jan-11, 02:13 PM
I've never heard of taking fingerprints of newborns. Would these even been useful? I know footprints are placed on birth certificates, but I do not think these are ever passed on to the government. They are kept as confidential hospital files.

Regardless, the point isn't "what would they (the gov) do with them". The point is, it's not theirs to have to begin with! I'm not a conspiracy nut. I'm just a nut for maintaining my rights as an individual in a free society.

[editted to add: oops! Sorry Joe. You did say "footprint", not fingerprint. My bad. . .]

[editted again to clarify]

Joe The Dude
2005-Jan-11, 02:13 PM
How is having your DNA on file any different than having your footprints taken at birth, or fingerprints taken when you get your driver's license?
I don't know about Texas, but in Ohio, you don't give your fingerprints when you get a license; in fact, of the four states I've lived in, I've never heard of that.

They used to scan the whole hand, but have gone down to just the thumb in recent years.

Joe The Dude
2005-Jan-11, 02:18 PM
One idea that just might be acceptable to the majority is the Choice/Oppertunity to Volunteer to have their DNA taken and put on file starting at age 18 or 21.

Wally
2005-Jan-11, 02:20 PM
The Searches are a Bit Extreme, and Shouldn't be Allowed to Happen.

On the Other Hand, I see Little Reason, for a Law-Abiding Citizen, to NOT Have his DNA on File.

My Reasoning is Thus: If you didn't do it, your DNA, Will Prove that; Furthermore, if Everyone in a Town, Comes Forward, except for a Few People, the Police can Restrict their Search to them, and Just Maybe, Make an Arrest.

Just Remember, The TRUTH, Will Set you Free!

Where do you draw the line??? What if, in another 100 years, we have the technology to see everything that's in a person's mind. Would you see it as OK for the government to "read" that information into a database (with their "promise" that it would remain safe and secure, of course) on a yearly basis, simply so they knew who did what to whom, and could then arrest people accordingly???

astrosapien
2005-Jan-11, 02:51 PM
A couple of years ago, the corpse of a girl was found close to the town were I grew up. The girl was raped before being killed. The police was able to get hold of the murderer's DNA. The girl was found in a rather remote place, so the police concluded that the murderer must have had profound knowledge of the area. The police requested 18,000 men above 18 within 10 or 20km to submit saliva to compare it with the murderer's DNA. (For those who speak/read German, details of the case can be found here (http://rhein-zeitung.de/on/98/11/12/topnews/rieken.html).
I had already moved to another town by then, but the police asked me to participate. So I did, along with 16,000 others. The submission was voluntary, 2,000 men abstained. The murderer submitted his which led to his capture and later conviction (he confessed the rape and murder of another girl).
I was aware of the arguments that spoke and speak against this. I hardly knew the facts of the case, I did not know anyone being personally involved. However, personally it was clear that I would go and submit my DNA. Along with many other men I did that because of rather personal reasons. Legally, we couldn't be forced to.
Criminology, criminal law and their ethics are not quite my main area of interest, but certainly the question arises if this is a justified intrusion into ones privacy or physical integrity. The principle of nemo tenetur se ipsum accusare - which allows a suspect to abstain from making statements concerning the crime - also exists for a reason and may be violated, especially if the test was mandatory. AFAIK. in Germany there still is no real legal basis for these tests, although they are conducted rather often. Several politicians called for a database, where the DNA of persons convicted of crimes like murder or rape would be stored.
I think, applying the principle of proportionality helps. If it is the last resort, if the data is erased afterwards, if it is voluntary, the little speaks against such tests.
One remark re Zaphod's statement: from what I remember from my human rights classes, the point of a liberal and democratic state is that the state should intrude into personal matters as little as possible. Law abiding or not, the state is not supposed to have one's DNA on file.

Metricyard
2005-Jan-11, 03:01 PM
The Searches are a Bit Extreme, and Shouldn't be Allowed to Happen.

On the Other Hand, I see Little Reason, for a Law-Abiding Citizen, to NOT Have his DNA on File.

My Reasoning is Thus: If you didn't do it, your DNA, Will Prove that; Furthermore, if Everyone in a Town, Comes Forward, except for a Few People, the Police can Restrict their Search to them, and Just Maybe, Make an Arrest.


I live in Massachusetts, and this really scares me.

If the police are that desperate to make an arrest, would you trust them to not take advantage of it?

What if they decided that your DNA was a close match? Now the burden of innocence falls on you. And guess what? The police say they have DNA evidence that says you were at the scene of the crime. Where does that leave you?

This is why we in the United States of America have laws that says we're innocent until proven guilty. What the police are doing here is saying that every one's assumed guilty unless they provide a DNA sample.

And yes, I have a very healthy respect for law enforcement. It's incidents like this, when authority oversteps the laws that they're supposed to uphold, that the people must stand up for their rights.

[/quote]

ToSeek
2005-Jan-11, 03:10 PM
I've never heard of taking fingerprints of newborns. Would these even been useful? I know footprints are placed on birth certificates, but I do think these are ever passed on to the government. They are kept as confidential hospital files.



My birth certificate is in the possession of the state of North Carolina, and I think that's the normal procedure.

Bawheid
2005-Jan-11, 03:12 PM
If you are required to give DNA for elimination purposes, then you are required to show your innocence. That is the obligation on the state in any investigation and prosecution. Mass screeening assumes guilt until proven innocent.

Databases of DNA for convicted murderers/rapists etc. are no different from databases of fingerprints etc of convicts. I'm fairly sure we have one in the UK.

Add: Metricyard posted while I was composing this.

teddyv
2005-Jan-11, 03:44 PM
Along the same line, I'm totally against the so called "roadside safety checks", which some state (fortunately, not Michigan!) allow. These are actually sobriety checkpoints, where the cops set up roadblocks and "randomly" stop cars for no reason to see if the driver's been drinking. How can this NOT be considered unlawful search and seisure, considering the cops have 0 reasons to detain you when they stop your car. It's been upheld in some states by courts claiming a "greater good" for the people outways an individual's rights.

To me, that is not only wrong, it's just darn right scary! What next? Police randomly searching my home just to make sure I'm not planning to take over the government??? :evil:

I think a roadside check is a little different in that you are dealing with rules of the road rather than outright criminal activity (I'm no lawyer so I may be completely off-base). I have no problems with roadside checks - too many people have been killed by drunk drivers - common good outweighs the supposed privacy, personal rights. Your personal rights do not allow you to infringe on others.

Nergal
2005-Jan-11, 03:57 PM
I consider myself conservative (more fiscally so than socially, I will admit), and heaven's knows I'd like to see the er caught, but there's no way on god's green earth I'd voluntarily give the government a sample of my DNA! It's just none of their gosh darn business, period!

Ditto. What Wally said. Every single word of it.

Thumper
2005-Jan-11, 04:14 PM
I've heard that, but I've also heard some states get around this violation of our basic rights by only stopping cars randomly (I think Illinois uses this ploy). Courts have upheld that as long as the stops are random, it somehow doesn't infringe upon our freedom. . . :roll:

I believe that also, here in Ohio, the Sobriety Check Points have survived court challenges because they announce them ahead of time. The theory being, I guess, If you know there will be a checkpoint at route 104 and 23 on Saturday night, and you drive through there anyway, you were agreeing to be searched.

Amadeus
2005-Jan-11, 04:19 PM
I consider myself conservative (more fiscally so than socially, I will admit), and heaven's knows I'd like to see the er caught, but there's no way on god's green earth I'd voluntarily give the government a sample of my DNA! It's just none of their gosh darn business, period!

Ditto. What Wally said. Every single word of it.

Would you feel the same way when a policeman comes to your door saying that a local girl was raped and killed and asked if they could have a sample?

I have no problems with a national database of DNA so long as it was not used for anything outside law enforcement. It is a much more reliable the eyewitnesses, CCTV and fingerprints.

The basic facts are these.
There is a powerful tool called DNA matching that can match 2 samples of DNA. For this to work the police need a sample to match it to.

Now we can have a system where we just use DNA after a suspect has been brought in and he has agreed to give a sample or we can have a system where a sample is collected at the scene sent to a lab and with hours a suspects name is given. That person can now be investigated.

I'am not saying that DNA evidence can be the only evidence in a try but it can at least point the police to a likely suspect.

you could argue for a middle way where a persons DNA is only put on file after they have commited and been proved of commiting a serious crime.
This would work but it would mean that it would never find people that have so far elluded capture.

I have to admit I am a bit surprised at the attitude to this on this of all boards. I would expect this on others but not on this. Arguements that
Basicly say "I don't want the evil goverment to have my DNA on file" You better never apply for a credit card,pay tax or live in a city if you're that worried. How do you think the goverment are going to miss use this?

The only thing I have seen with any merit IMHO is the giving of DNA results to a third party like insurance companies. First off this can be prevent with decent laws. It's not like the goverment is going to risk
getting kicked out of power at the hands of an angry mob.

Also If a person is not insured it's the goverment that in the end will pick up the bill (this is the case in the UK anyway, where we have a national health service.)

Safe guards can be set-up to avoid mis-carrages of justice and to be honest with a DNA system there would be less of them anyway.
How many people have been sent to prison on the testomy of an eye witn ess who glimpsed the person for a few seconds months ago?

Let me just state I am on the left of politics and have been involve in campagns that I will not discuss here because it will infringe on the forum rules.

captain swoop
2005-Jan-11, 04:24 PM
In the UK DNA samples along with fingerprints can be taken if you are arrested. There have been a number of convictions where people have been arrested for a crime and their DNA has matched samples recovered years earlier from crime scenes.

There have been a couple of cases where mass sampling has been done for elimination purposes and the samples all destroyed later.

As for stopping drink drivers, in the UK you can be Breathalizedif you are stopped for a traffic offense and the police have reason to think you were drinking. You can't be convicted on a Breathalizer though, you have to be taken in and give a blood sample for testing within an hour of the breathalizer test. It's an offense to refuse a blood test.

Amadeus
2005-Jan-11, 04:36 PM
You have to also take into account the deterent factor of a national database.

If you know one slip up will mean almost certain capture then would they still commit the murder etc?

This would mean 2 lives are saved. The victim and the person that will now not ruin his life in prison.

I am not suggesting a police state. I am only suggesting this be used when a crime of violence is commited.

Bawheid
2005-Jan-11, 04:37 PM
Would you feel the same way when a policeman comes to your door saying that a local girl was raped and killed and asked if they could have a sample?
Yes. There was talk of this a year ago in Edinburgh after a couple of attacks, and after a recent murder in Midlothian.


you could argue for a middle way where a persons DNA is only put on file after they have commited and been proved of commiting a serious crime.
This would work but it would mean that it would never find people that have so far elluded capture.
Which is what we have with fingerprints at the moment.



I have to admit I am a bit surprised at the attitude to this on this of all boards.
Why should this board be different?


Arguements that
Basicly say "I don't want the evil goverment to have my DNA on file" You better never apply for a credit card,pay tax or live in a city if you're that worried. How do you think the goverment are going to miss use this?
These are matters of choice, the same as giving a DNA sample.



Also If a person is not insured it's the goverment that in the end will pick up the bill (this is the case in the UK anyway, where we have a national health service.)
DNA typing for insurance is to do with life assurance cover, the government does not pick up the bill. People will be unable to borrow on the strength of insurance, or to insure their lives.

SeanF
2005-Jan-11, 04:37 PM
I wouldn't give a DNA sample, and what's the point, anyway? I didn't do it, so giving them my DNA won't help them at all.

I don't like sobriety checkpoints, either. My dad was a cop, and he used to say that a cop would only need to follow an average driver for about three blocks before they did something that would justify pulling them over. If the driver is driving in such a way that a cop can't tell they need to be pulled over, then they're quite likely not an inordinate danger to others, even if they are over the legal limit.

Wally
2005-Jan-11, 04:41 PM
Good discussion so far, from both sides!

Even though the town is simply requesting the DNA, just look at the pressure it puts on those who might have the same opinion I do and choose not to provide a sample. That right there is enough reason why this should not be done.

Why should a person who's innocent of any crime be made to feel guilty for not proving his innocence?

Candy
2005-Jan-11, 04:43 PM
I have no problems with a national database of DNA so long as it was not used for anything outside law enforcement. It is a much more reliable the eyewitnesses, CCTV and fingerprints.
I agree with Amadeus.

I watched a crime show a few years back where, I believe in the UK, there was a serial rapist/murderer caught after they asked for volunteer's DNA. I can't remember all the details, but it would have made a great made for TV movie.

Doodler
2005-Jan-11, 04:50 PM
No way in hades. Its gender profiling and its as criminal as racial profiling. Without probable cause and a warrant, NOBODY gets my genetic information.

Fingerprinting is done on babies, my birth certificate has both my hand and footprints on it. I also regularly put my right thumbprint on checks I cash at banks where I don't have accounts. There are some fundamental differences between fingerprinting and DNA sampling:

After a century or more of use and refinement, fingerprinting is a fully developed and matured forensic science. Excepting malice, its virtually impossible to come up with bad fingerprints, and partial fingerprints are typically not admissible as evidence without substantial similarity to a suspects full print. I believe the current threshold of acceptable fingerprint comparison is 27 points, with 100 or more being the average found on a good match.

DNA science, like it or not, is still WAY immature in terms of forensic discipline. Its entirely too easy for environmental contamination and lab contamination to occur. Also, genetic matching isn't refined to the point of fingerprinting. With fingerprints, its either yours or it isn't, the odds of a 27 point match have been calculated as remote enough to effectively filter out the possibility of two people having the same pattern. 1 in 100, which is about the best odds I've heard in DNA for a possible genetic match, is completely unacceptable.

Genetically profiling the entire male population of a city like this is a fishing expedition, its not warranted without probable cause, and is a gross violation of constitutional protection.

sidmel
2005-Jan-11, 04:54 PM
Part of the question here, and one the article doesn't make clear, is are the police making it compulsory to provide DNA or are they asking people out their good faith, in order to capture the killer and/or narrow down suspects, to donate DNA.

If the police are making people give DNA with specific evidence against them, then it a gross violation of our civil rights, and I personally would refuse on those grounds. If they are simple asking people to donate DNA in order to aid their investigation, I don’t know, I might or might not.

Though, the part about the police taking note of those who did not provide the swab makes me a little uneasy.

Captain Kidd
2005-Jan-11, 05:02 PM
I unfortunately can't make my mind up on this. One the one hand, mandatory DNA samples taken at birth would be a great boon. Not only would you have a database to compare crimes against, but should a disaster occur and victims are rendered unidentifiable via visual, finger print, dental, or other methods, this would allow for another mode of identification. Same goes for the classic movie-style amnesia case too.

But the flip side is, what level of government involvement do we want in our lives? Example, should your DNA sample be subjected to a routine scanned due to a crime, since that’s your DNA, did your person just get searched without justification?

This will ruffle feathers, but I’m not sure I agree with the compulsory DNA sampling of felons. After all, isn’t it suppose to be that once you serve your time you are considered to have fulfilled your punishment? Thus, since only criminals (or those arrested as it seems in the UK, is the sample destroyed if you’re found not guilty or are you forever a potential “suspect” now?) are entered into this database, is the continual monitoring of ex-felons' DNA a continuation of punishment? You get arrested, serve your time, and yet you are continually accused as a suspect to every single case that your DNA is examined against. But statically there’s good chances that people will repeat crimes, “a life of crime” isn’t something that’s just a made-up phrase.

So here I sit with a leg on both sides of the fence, hopefully it isn’t electric.

Wally
2005-Jan-11, 05:13 PM
Sidmel. They're asking for voluntary participation.

Another thing to consider is how easy it would be to "frame" another individual using DNA evidence. Grab a coke can out of the garbage, leave it at a crime scene, and suddenly Joe-innocent is sitting down at the police station having to provide witnesses as to where he was at 9:00 last Tuesday when Cnl. Mustard was killed with the candlestick!

Not a good thing. . . [-(

[editted for clarity]

Candy
2005-Jan-11, 05:18 PM
Sidmel. They're asking for voluntary participation.

Another thing to consider is how easy it would be to "frame" another individual based using DNA evidence. Grab a coke can out of the garbage, leave it at a crime scene, and suddenly Joe-innocent is sitting down at the police station having to provide witnesses as to where he was at 9:00 last Tuesday when Cnl. Mustard was killed with the candlestick!

Not a good thing. . . [-(
Dang, I wish I could find that UK example. If I remember correctly, the rapist/murderer actually paid a buddy to give DNA using his name and some excuse that his buddy didn't find suspicious.

So it works both ways. Plus, I believe the men had mouth swabs done at the volunteer locations. Does anybody remember this? :-?

Amadeus
2005-Jan-11, 05:22 PM
Sidmel. Another thing to consider is how easy it would be to "frame" another individual based using DNA evidence. Grab a coke can out of the garbage, leave it at a crime scene, and suddenly Joe-innocent is sitting down at the police station having to provide witnesses as to where he was at 9:00 last Tuesday when Cnl. Mustard was killed with the candlestick!

Not a good thing. . . [-(

What would the difference be with grabbing a coke can and leaving someones fingerprints behind? Fingerprints are open to abuse as well.

At least with DNA there's context. You can make assumptions based on what was left behind. If we are talking skin cells then that would be a low level contact. The person could have just bumped into them in the street.
Coke can could have been a messy person walking past.

If a coke can is found and I am pulled in I would be updet but I would also be rational. I know what bin I dropped that can in. I can say I dropped in that trash can on the high street.
A quick nip by the police up to that site and maybe they will have the person caught on CCTV

If however we are talking blood or body fluids left behind on the victim then that would be high level of contact.

Moose
2005-Jan-11, 05:24 PM
Doodler, that's well said.

No. I would not ever consent to a DNA screening short of a court order, no more than I would allow a search of my car or home without the appropriate documentation, nor would I consent to be questionned, formally or informally, without the presence of legal council.

If the police have sufficient cause to suspect me of a crime, they have sufficient cause to get the appropriate orders through the correct oversight. Were this to be the case, they wouldn't need my consent.

The fact that they request it is about as clear a statement as possible that they have no reasonable grounds to suspect you of whatever crime they're fishing for. In such a case, they have no business making the request in the first place.

In any case, consenting to any of these things is ultimately not in your best interests.

papageno
2005-Jan-11, 05:28 PM
Sidmel. They're asking for voluntary participation.

Another thing to consider is how easy it would be to "frame" another individual based using DNA evidence. Grab a coke can out of the garbage, leave it at a crime scene, and suddenly Joe-innocent is sitting down at the police station having to provide witnesses as to where he was at 9:00 last Tuesday when Cnl. Mustard was killed with the candlestick!

Not a good thing. . . [-(
Dang, I wish I could find that UK example. If I remember correctly, the rapist/murderer actually paid a buddy to give DNA using his name and some excuse that his buddy didn't find suspicious.

So it works both ways. Plus, I believe the men had mouth swabs done at the volunteer locations. Does anybody remember this? :-?

I am sure I have seen that show last year. But I do not remember much.
The test was voluntary, but it put enormous "social" pressure on the men not participating (scene at the pub: "So, have you given a sample of your DNA?" "Sure, I did. And you?" ...).

Moose
2005-Jan-11, 05:33 PM
If a coke can is found and I am pulled in I would be updet but I would also be rational. I know what bin I dropped that can in. I can say I dropped in that trash can on the high street.
A quick nip by the police up to that site and maybe they will have the person caught on CCTV

There's a major flaw in your argument, Amadeus.

If "I dropped that can in this bin, not at the crime scene" is a statement that you can reasonably expect to be accepted as truth, then "I did not commit the crime in question" must be equally as acceptable, and for the same reasons.

If one statement must be subject to skepticism (prove it), then so must the other.

As for the CCTV argument, it's not particularly relevant. They're just as (un)likely to have the actual crime on CCTV. If they can tell that you dropped some unidentifyable can in such-and-such bin at roughly that time, then they can tell the criminal (in the crime footage) is not you.

In any case, if they are prepared to lay charges based on the pop can, then you may consider killing their case through a DNA test. There's no reason, benefitting you, to do so beforehand.

Gramma loreto
2005-Jan-11, 05:52 PM
Would you feel the same way when a policeman comes to your door saying that a local girl was raped and killed and asked if they could have a sample?[/i]

For me personally, that would depend upon the case. I'm a law-and-order kind of guy but fishing expeditions are no substitute for sound investigative techniques. In order to convince me to voluntarily submit, the officer would have to make a compelling argument that sampling my DNA would significantly advance the investigation in a way that could not be accomplished through other less intrusive means. For instance, do they want the sample even if I was verifiably out of town at the time of the crime?

[quote]I have no problems with a national database of DNA so long as it was not used for anything outside law enforcement. It is a much more reliable the eyewitnesses, CCTV and fingerprints.

Keeping in mind that I'm speaking from the perspective of a U.S. citizen, I do have a problem it. It would violate our Constitution. It would subvert the rights of the majority to address the unlawful acts of the minority. It would unjustly relieve law enforcement of their duty to show probable cause. It would essentially constitute a warrantless search of any person for any crime, at the whim of the government, without knowledge of the individual, in perpetuity.


I'am not saying that DNA evidence can be the only evidence in a try but it can at least point the police to a likely suspect.

Your statement stands probable cause on its head. In our system, the police must demonstrate a competing need to conduct the search that outweighs the individual's right to protection from unreasonable search and seizure. That demonstration can be satisfied by showing the person is a likely suspect, or the person is likely in possession of material evidence, etc. Any petition for warrant that basically stated "we don't know who did it so we want to search everyone" would be laughed out of court...at least I fervently hope so.


you could argue for a middle way where a persons DNA is only put on file after they have commited and been proved of commiting a serious crime. This would work but it would mean that it would never find people that have so far elluded capture.

This is already being done here, at least in degree. I have little problem with lawfully collected DNA evidence being retained on file. IIRC, surveys in the U.S. indicate that about 70% of crimes are perpetrated by repeat offenders. If so, it stands to reason in my mind that this option would eventually collect DNA for a significant portion of the practicing criminal population.


It's not like the goverment is going to risk getting kicked out of power at the hands of an angry mob.

Our nation was founded, in part, on just this principal. As individuals, politicians have to worry about turning the voters into an angry mob at the ballot box. The name of Gray Davis comes to mind. On the larger scale, any government that is not responsive and responsible to the people should worry about just that fate...not just at the polls but at the Capitol steps, as well. It seems such a remote possibility today, and rightly so under normal circumstances...but it should never be an impossibility. The writings of our founding fathers indicate they believed that when that option is lost to the people, they are no longer citizens...but are instead, subjects.

Candy
2005-Jan-11, 05:59 PM
I am sure I have seen that show last year. But I do not remember much.
The test was voluntary, but it put enormous "social" pressure on the men not participating (scene at the pub: "So, have you given a sample of your DNA?" "Sure, I did. And you?" ...).
Though legal, general testing arouses concern (http://www.capecodonline.com/cctimes/thoughlegal6.htm)

DNA testing to solve crimes and mass sampling originated after two teenagers were raped and killed in 1983 and 1986 in Narborough, Leicestershire, England.

Hoping to use DNA to convict the prime suspect, investigators reached out to a local doctor who had developed a technique to create DNA profiles. The testing was done - the first of its kind in the world - and the prime suspect was ruled out, according to an article published by the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Left with little else to go on, investigators took DNA samples from all the men in three villages. Over the course of six months, all 5,000 samples were tested, but none of the blood types matched evidence found at the scene of the crimes.

One year later, a woman overheard a co-worker, Colin Pitchfork, brag that he had someone pose as him and give a sample. When police tested Pitchfork, his DNA came up as a match. He was convicted of the two murders in 1988, the BBC reported.
I feel better. CNN actually picked up Wally's story but left out some of the original details.

Doodler
2005-Jan-11, 06:55 PM
I am sure I have seen that show last year. But I do not remember much.
The test was voluntary, but it put enormous "social" pressure on the men not participating (scene at the pub: "So, have you given a sample of your DNA?" "Sure, I did. And you?" ...).

That, in the US, would technically fall under the Fifth Ammendment. Its no one's business whether they participated or not. Contrary to the beliefs of journalists, lawyers, and busy bodies, the right not to testify against yourself is written in a universal sense, you're not required to discuss any matter that may or may not be pertinent to your guilt or innocence in or out of a courtroom.


Also, the Coke can is kind of a bad example. In a crime scene investigation, priority is placed on items pertinent to the crime itself, so unless there were Coke stains found on the victim, or someone said they saw an assailant drinking a Coke prior to the attack or whatever, the odds of it being tested at all is pretty low. Its understood that fingerprints are going to be everywhere, when the restaurant I work for was broken into about a year ago an robbed, there were surfaces everywhere that were dusted, but when you look close, the pattern emerges. Phones, registers, safes, file cabinets, light switches, those places where a criminal would most likely have made contact were the ones tested. There's a very human intuitition that goes into a forensic analysis, so unless that Coke can looked out of place, had a bloodstain on it or something that made it stand out as not belonging where it was (beyond someone just being a poor shot tossing it at the trashcan, the odds of it randomly being tested for DNA or fingerprints just because its there is low.

Donnie B.
2005-Jan-11, 07:09 PM
There's another argument against DNA screening (as if the privacy argument weren't enough): it's ineffective.

It has been attempted 18 times previously in the US. It has worked only once, and that was in a case where the victim was confined in an institution and there was a limited number of people who had access to her.

In this particular case (the Truro, MA murder case in the OP), the crime took place over three years ago. Lots of people have come and gone since. Presumably women have been excluded by examination of whatever DNA they have from the crime scene, but even if the police could compel DNA samples from all males in the town they wouldn't come anywhere near having a comprehensive catalog of suspects. Truro is on Cape Cod, a resort area -- there are thousands of visitors passing through every year!

This case is one where a prominent person (the victim was a well-known author) has been killed and the police have no clue who did it. They're desperate and this is their way of showing that they're doing something.

For the record, they could have my DNA when they pry it from my cold, dead nuclei -- or when they had sufficient probable cause to get a warrant.

Demigrog
2005-Jan-11, 07:13 PM
IMO, general DNA testing is a bad idea.

1) Thousands of tests have to be performed. Who pays for it? Plus, the sheer volume is going to increase the odds of making a mistake.
2) The criminal is going to avoid testing. While I can see how investigators could use this to identify possible suspects, it is a very inefficient way to do it.
3) DNA evidence alone should not be enough to convict. Aside from deliberate tampering, mistakes can be made. I can see using the DNA evidence as a starting point, however, but again it is an inefficient way to go about it. At best police could use it as an intimidation tactic, much like polygraphs.
4) What happens to the DNA samples after the crime in question is solved/closed? What limits the police to using the DNA on only capital crimes? What keeps the police from using the DNA samples to identify, say, political activists at odds with the current government?
5) How secure is the DNA evidence? Can a good hacker or bad recordkeeping allow access to the information? Is the government going to accidentally fax it to a junk yard? Will they bother to keep it secret in the first place? Can privacy laws be overturned by future politics?
6) From a general libertarian perspective, general DNA records make it easier for government to be intrusive-- not always in one big way, but in lots of little ways. If you make a mistake in your life, it is hard enough to repair the damage as it is in our information-crazy society. With ubiquitous DNA testing, a lot of people are going to get stuck in hopeless situations that they cannot escape.

Nergal
2005-Jan-11, 07:13 PM
I consider myself conservative (more fiscally so than socially, I will admit), and heaven's knows I'd like to see the er caught, but there's no way on god's green earth I'd voluntarily give the government a sample of my DNA! It's just none of their gosh darn business, period!

Ditto. What Wally said. Every single word of it.

Would you feel the same way when a policeman comes to your door saying that a local was d and killed and asked if they could have a sample?

Absolutely. However, if they can give me even one reason why they might need to eliminate me as a suspect...one reason other than, "we're checking everyone and hoping to get lucky"...then I'd very happily give a sample.

I have the same feeling about random screens. Screen me when I'm hired? Fine. Screen me if/when I have an on the job ? Fine. Screen me because I have a safety related posistion (doctor, driver, etc..)? Fine. But screen me because my SSN popped up in a random number generator...why? Despite the fact that I'm going to clear a screen, it still offends me to be assumed guilty.


you could argue for a middle way where a persons DNA is only put on file after they have commited and been proved of commiting a serious crime.

...and I fully support such a system.


Also If a person is not insured it's the goverment that in the end will pick up the bill (this is the case in the UK anyway, where we have a national health service.)

I work in healthcare...I can assure you, that is not the way it works in the US. I work in an urban teaching (i.e. university) hospital. Roughly 38% of all our patients are self-pay...not government insurance (Medicare/Medicaid), truely indigent. The hospital eats the cost of treating those patients.

You know how the government treats us...local law enforcement in particular? They don't arrest people who are injured, so they don't get stuck with the bill. We've got a guy in ICU now who was shot by the police (after a police officer - he's ok). After surgery and recovery, he's easily going to cost 500,000 to treat (that's cost, not charges)...and the police have kindly asked us to notify them when he's discharged so they can go arrest him. We're just going to eat that bill. Nice of them...

Sorry to go overboard, but my hackles go up when someone says, "the government will pay for it" :)

Doodler
2005-Jan-11, 07:16 PM
There's another argument against DNA screening (as if the privacy argument weren't enough): it's ineffective.


From what I understand about it, DNA is completely effective in some cases, not proof of guilt, but definite proof of innocence. You can be eliminated as a suspect, as many cases now coming through releases of wrongfully imprisoned persons getting new trials, but you can't be 100% proven guilty. Its just not accurate enough to overcome reasonable doubt when used as evidence in prosecution.

Moose
2005-Jan-11, 07:20 PM
From what I understand about it, DNA is completely effective in some cases, not proof of guilt, but definite proof of innocence. You can be eliminated as a suspect, as many cases now coming through releases of wrongfully imprisoned persons getting new trials, but you can't be 100% proven guilty. Its just not accurate enough to overcome reasonable doubt when used as evidence in prosecution.

Except a jury won't necessarily understand that. Heck, most people still seem to think a polygraph test is conclusive.

Donnie B.
2005-Jan-11, 07:31 PM
There's another argument against DNA screening (as if the privacy argument weren't enough): it's ineffective.


From what I understand about it, DNA is completely effective in some cases, not proof of guilt, but definite proof of innocence. You can be eliminated as a suspect, as many cases now coming through releases of wrongfully imprisoned persons getting new trials, but you can't be 100% proven guilty. Its just not accurate enough to overcome reasonable doubt when used as evidence in prosecution.
You misunderstood me. I'm not talking about the reading/comparison of the DNA. I'm talking about the overall process of mass-screening a large group for DNA that matches the DNA discovered at a crime scene.

Even if the testing and matching is 100% accurate, the screening process can and usually does fail simply because the matching DNA (i.e. the right suspect) is never found.

Amadeus
2005-Jan-11, 08:34 PM
Well I can see that I am in the minority here.

Just to make sure that there are no misunderstandings here is what I had in mind.

1) everyone has their DNA code registered on a database the sample is then distroyed so It cannot be used to contaminate a crime scene.
It would make sense that because of the huge task of registering every one in a country in such a database would take a very long time it would make sense for people at the highest risks of reconviction register first.
But I do not believe in one rule for some and not for others so I would in the end want to see everyone as part of a database.

2) Your cars plates are registered. This is for no other reason then to identify you and track you down if you break the law. I do not see much difference between looking up someones License plate to see who they are and looking up someones DNA code to see who they are. If a car was seen at the scene of a crime would it be an infrigment of their civil libertys to question that driver after looking up the license plate?

3) There have to be rules when using all evidence. So there would also have to be rules when using DNA evidence to ensure it cannot be misused.

4) This is not a science that I know a lot about so I will leave the issue of cost and reliability to others more informed. I'am guessing here that DNA is at the an early stage and such a system is not technicaly possible at this stage.

5) The point about the life insurance is well taken. I had misunderstood that. That though can be securing in law the types of people that would have access to the database.

6) I for one would prefer it to be only judges that have access to it. The investigating officer hands the details to a judge who then decides if the case warrents a DNA search. once a match has been made then the person is interviewed and a fresh sample is take and rematched to the one taken at the scene. This would elementate any mistakes and tampering of the database.

7) Who's going to pay for it? Well i'am guessing that the reduction in crime would help to pay for it.

Wally
2005-Jan-11, 09:07 PM
1) everyone has their DNA code registered on a database the sample is then distroyed so It cannot be used to contaminate a crime scene.
.

It's not the gov. contaminating the scene that would concern me. It's the criminal. Think about how easy it would be, especially if that criminal had access to your home. Hair (of all kinds) can usually be easily found in any bathroom, especially if we're talking about a single guy (lets fact it, we don't clean as often as we should!). So the criminal gets a hold a few strands, shaves himself, commits a henious crime against a female, and leaves your hair at the scene, knowing you were going to spend the evening at home doing nothing. Now what???

Let's face it. You couldn't do that with fingerprints.

Amadeus
2005-Jan-11, 09:21 PM
1) everyone has their DNA code registered on a database the sample is then distroyed so It cannot be used to contaminate a crime scene.
.

It's not the gov. contaminating the scene that would concern me. It's the criminal. Think about how easy it would be, especially if that criminal had access to your home. Hair (of all kinds) can usually be easily found in any bathroom, especially if we're talking about a single guy (lets fact it, we don't clean as often as we should!). So the criminal gets a hold a few strands, shaves himself, commits a henious crime against a female, and leaves your hair at the scene, knowing you were going to spend the evening at home doing nothing. Now what???

Let's face it. You couldn't do that with fingerprints.


You're right. It couldn't be done with fingerprints (well not easyly anyway)

However what you have there is a situation where a few years later you get done for some other crime and your DNA lights up on that old case.
so long ago that most the people envolve have moved on, you can't remember what you did that night etc. At least with this database they would question you right away whilst all the other facts and evidense are fresh.

Besides You could get a knife from the persons house and leave it at the scene.
You could get an apple core from the trash and leave their dental records there. You could also if you have access to this person house borrow their keys and drive their car to the scene. But all that aside unless you are wearing a sealed suit you are going to leave DNA behind so all you are doing is leaving a few samples of hair from one person and a lot your own (skin etc). Not a master plan.


I'am not saying that there are no dangers in any kind of system like this
but any system has risks, it's just a matter of the safe guards that you put in place.

SeanF
2005-Jan-11, 09:49 PM
2) Your cars plates are registered. This is for no other reason then to identify you and track you down if you break the law.
Actually, the reason for registering cars is to make money for the government (technically, for road upkeep/repair). That they can use the plates to identify the car in the event of a crime is secondary.


I do not see much difference between looking up someones License plate to see who they are and looking up someones DNA code to see who they are. If a car was seen at the scene of a crime would it be an infrigment of their civil libertys to question that driver after looking up the license plate?
Ah, but you can choose not to own a car. And, you can choose not to register a car you do own, so long as you don't drive it on public roads.

So can one choose not to be part of your DNA database? If not, then the comparison to license plates is specious.

beskeptical
2005-Jan-11, 09:59 PM
Lots of good points here and a few misguided ones.

Having one's DNA on file is not the same as having your complete genome map on file so the idea one's genetic information will get into someone's hand is just not correct. Only small segments are even typed. DNA testing link (http://arbl.cvmbs.colostate.edu/hbooks/genetics/medgen/dnatesting/dnatest_poly.html)

There really is very little difference in DNA 'fingerprinting' and fingerprinting. With the exception of the quality of lab technique which is very important. But unlike the OJ trial myths that were given that jury, lab error is not going to make your DNA match someone elses and if specimens were mixed up which is plausible, you have an ample supply left for retesting.

If the prosecutor is looking to frame someone, mass DNA screening is the least of your worries.

And, the Innocence Project (http://www.innocenceproject.org/)has proved many people innocent through DNA that were in jail for years including some who had been on death row. One of the biggest hurdles has been getting the prosecutors and judges to order the DNA testing in old cases.

I think the sooner we make DNA testing the standard in courtrooms the sooner we prevent those innocent persons from going to jail. I would not fear being tested, even via mass screening.

Doodler
2005-Jan-11, 09:59 PM
There's another argument against DNA screening (as if the privacy argument weren't enough): it's ineffective.


From what I understand about it, DNA is completely effective in some cases, not proof of guilt, but definite proof of innocence. You can be eliminated as a suspect, as many cases now coming through releases of wrongfully imprisoned persons getting new trials, but you can't be 100% proven guilty. Its just not accurate enough to overcome reasonable doubt when used as evidence in prosecution.
You misunderstood me. I'm not talking about the reading/comparison of the DNA. I'm talking about the overall process of mass-screening a large group for DNA that matches the DNA discovered at a crime scene.

Even if the testing and matching is 100% accurate, the screening process can and usually does fail simply because the matching DNA (i.e. the right suspect) is never found.

Yup, I did misunderstand you. My bad. You do echo a point I tried to make earlier, that the whole thing was a fishing expedition that one inadvertant success story has given legitimacy to.

Swift
2005-Jan-11, 10:06 PM
2) Your cars plates are registered. This is for no other reason then to identify you and track you down if you break the law.
Actually, the reason for registering cars is to make money for the government (technically, for road upkeep/repair). That they can use the plates to identify the car in the event of a crime is secondary.


I do not see much difference between looking up someones License plate to see who they are and looking up someones DNA code to see who they are. If a car was seen at the scene of a crime would it be an infrigment of their civil libertys to question that driver after looking up the license plate?
Ah, but you can choose not to own a car. And, you can choose not to register a car you do own, so long as you don't drive it on public roads.

So can one choose not to be part of your DNA database? If not, then the comparison to license plates is specious.
I see another difference. Driving a car is not a constitutionally protected right. The right to be secure in my person is (obviously constitutional issues only apply to the US).

I have no problem the police asking for voluntary DNA samples, but I have a huge problem with requiring it without a court order. I'm not afraid of the big, bad government, I'm not afraid of smart criminals trying to use my DNA to frame me. I just think it is flat out unconstitutional.

ktesibios
2005-Jan-11, 10:54 PM
Is a request for "voluntary" submission coupled with a thinly-veiled threat that those who don't submit will be considered suspect genuinely voluntary or is it coerced?

I say the latter.

Moose
2005-Jan-11, 10:55 PM
So do I.

gethen
2005-Jan-11, 10:56 PM
Even if the testing and matching is 100% accurate, the screening process can and usually does fail simply because the matching DNA (i.e. the right suspect) is never found.
Well, sometimes the blood tests do work (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0553282816/104-8832120-4619107?v=glance).

Gillianren
2005-Jan-12, 12:35 AM
a little more info on the British case:

they didn't just use his DNA. they had actually already interviewed the guy after the first murder, but he claimed to have had an alibi--babysitting. (he left his infant in the car while he raped and murdered a teenager.) he was finally caught because the coworker he'd bribed into taking his DNA test for him confessed.

for full details, or as full details as you're reasonably going to get/want, there is a book called The Blooding, by Joseph Wambaugh.

I would like to point out that, criminal cases aside, a national database would've made ID'ing WTC victims a lot easier.

Candy
2005-Jan-12, 12:38 AM
a little more info on the British case:

they didn't just use his DNA. they had actually already interviewed the guy after the first murder, but he claimed to have had an alibi--babysitting. (he left his infant in the car while he raped and murdered a teenager.) he was finally caught because the coworker he'd bribed into taking his DNA test for him confessed.

for full details, or as full details as you're reasonably going to get/want, there is a book called The Blooding, by Joseph Wambaugh.

I would like to point out that, criminal cases aside, a national database would've made ID'ing WTC victims a lot easier.
Thank you, Gillian. :D

Metricyard
2005-Jan-12, 02:34 AM
Here's an article from the local newspaper:
Bosotn Globe (http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2005/01/11/dna_testing_troubles_some_in_truro/)


Here's a quote from the Police Chief.


"There are many reasons" for people to decline giving their DNA, "and the prosecutors and police certainly understand those," O'Keefe said yesterday. "Nonetheless, police will certainly look at those reasons, and they have some judgment and some discernment on that issue, and . . . we'll see what it produces.

I saw this him being interviewed on the TV the other day. Pretty much said that anyone who refused a dna test would be looked at carefully. That's a scary situation in any country.

A Thousand Pardons
2005-Jan-12, 09:28 AM
There really is very little difference in DNA 'fingerprinting' and fingerprinting.
That is probably true, but to the best of my knowledge, I don't think that there has ever been a "mass" fingerprinting, where they bring in thousands of suspects.

I'd imagine that most people's fingerprints are not on file.

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2005-Jan-12, 10:13 AM
The Searches are a Bit Extreme, and Shouldn't be Allowed to Happen.

On the Other Hand, I see Little Reason, for a Law-Abiding Citizen, to NOT Have his DNA on File.

My Reasoning is Thus: If you didn't do it, your DNA, Will Prove that; Furthermore, if Everyone in a Town, Comes Forward, except for a Few People, the Police can Restrict their Search to them, and Just Maybe, Make an Arrest.

Just Remember, The TRUTH, Will Set you Free!

Where do you draw the line??? What if, in another 100 years, we have the technology to see everything that's in a person's mind. Would you see it as OK for the government to "read" that information into a database (with their "promise" that it would remain safe and secure, of course) on a yearly basis, simply so they knew who did what to whom, and could then arrest people accordingly???

That is what we Call, a Straw Man.

The Two, are NOT Similar, in The Slightest!

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2005-Jan-12, 10:20 AM
1) everyone has their DNA code registered on a database the sample is then distroyed so It cannot be used to contaminate a crime scene.
.

It's not the gov. contaminating the scene that would concern me. It's the criminal. Think about how easy it would be, especially if that criminal had access to your home. Hair (of all kinds) can usually be easily found in any bathroom, especially if we're talking about a single guy (lets fact it, we don't clean as often as we should!). So the criminal gets a hold a few strands, shaves himself, commits a henious crime against a female, and leaves your hair at the scene, knowing you were going to spend the evening at home doing nothing. Now what???

Let's face it. You couldn't do that with fingerprints.


You're right. It couldn't be done with fingerprints (well not easyly anyway)

However what you have there is a situation where a few years later you get done for some other crime and your DNA lights up on that old case.
so long ago that most the people envolve have moved on, you can't remember what you did that night etc. At least with this database they would question you right away whilst all the other facts and evidense are fresh.

Besides You could get a knife from the persons house and leave it at the scene.
You could get an apple core from the trash and leave their dental records there. You could also if you have access to this person house borrow their keys and drive their car to the scene. But all that aside unless you are wearing a sealed suit you are going to leave DNA behind so all you are doing is leaving a few samples of hair from one person and a lot your own (skin etc). Not a master plan.


I'am not saying that there are no dangers in any kind of system like this
but any system has risks, it's just a matter of the safe guards that you put in place.

Not to Mention, that spending the evening at home doing nothing, is now a Pretty Good Allibi.

Whenever I am, Home Alone, I routinely talk to Two or Three people over Instant Messanger, with The Conversation, Recorded on My Computer.

Should I EVER Need to Prove my Whereabouts, I Have Witnesses, and a Written Record, Thus, the Police would Be Hard Pressed, to Disprove What I Say.

A Thousand Pardons
2005-Jan-12, 10:56 AM
That is what we Call, a Straw Man.

The Two, are NOT Similar, in The Slightest!
I would say that they are similar, in the slightest. :)

Really, Wally's question is "Where do you draw the line???" He's asking how much personal information should we expect to have in the database, and he took it to the extreme.

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2005-Jan-12, 11:15 AM
That is what we Call, a Straw Man.

The Two, are NOT Similar, in The Slightest!
I would say that they are similar, in the slightest. :)

Really, Wally's question is "Where do you draw the line???" He's asking how much personal information should we expect to have in the database, and he took it to the extreme.

Too extreme, I say ...

The reason it's a Straw Man, is I don't routinely Leave a Thought Imprint, upon EVERYTHING, I Touch.

I do, however, Leave Skin Cells, Blood, Sweat, and Occasionally Semen ...

A National, or even International, Database of DNA Types, would Allow for the Rapid Investigation, of Any Crime, and Isn't That, Central to The 6th Amendment, The Right to a Speedy Trial?

captain swoop
2005-Jan-12, 11:20 AM
In the UK we have the Criminal Cases Review Board. It was set up to look at old cases where there were doubts and apply new evidence like DNA testing to them. Quite a few high profile cases have been overturned (the Carl Bridgewater murder springs to mind).

Amadeus
2005-Jan-12, 11:25 AM
That is what we Call, a Straw Man.

The Two, are NOT Similar, in The Slightest!
I would say that they are similar, in the slightest. :)

Really, Wally's question is "Where do you draw the line???" He's asking how much personal information should we expect to have in the database, and he took it to the extreme.

Well you can take anything to the extream....
Like don't give burn victims pain killers because a few get a dependant on them.

If you're worried about personal information then a record of part of your DNA sequence is the least of your worries. What can anyone learn from that? They wont know your spending habbits or your live style.
Your politics do not come from your genetic background.


What we do is mostly formed by nurture not nature

If the spooks want info on you do you realy think that they are going to do it via a dna sample? They have access to every means of electronic communication. They do not need your DNA.

There are many parts of the world were sadly civil liberties are being abused. People are being tortured and killed for nothing more than not supporting their dictator. Most of us on this board do not face that kind of situation.

Bawheid
2005-Jan-12, 02:00 PM
If people are concerned about being ID'ed after a disaster would a record of their DNA held with their other medical records not do this?

Doodler
2005-Jan-12, 02:40 PM
If people are concerned about being ID'ed after a disaster would a record of their DNA held with their other medical records not do this?

Depending on the disaster, you're looking at massive contamination of the corpse, the odds of a successful match to file DNA is reduced.

Amadeus
2005-Jan-12, 02:50 PM
If people are concerned about being ID'ed after a disaster would a record of their DNA held with their other medical records not do this?

Depending on the disaster, you're looking at massive contamination of the corpse, the odds of a successful match to file DNA is reduced.

I have heard that teeth ae a good source of dna.

Doodler
2005-Jan-12, 03:09 PM
If people are concerned about being ID'ed after a disaster would a record of their DNA held with their other medical records not do this?

Depending on the disaster, you're looking at massive contamination of the corpse, the odds of a successful match to file DNA is reduced.

I have heard that teeth ae a good source of dna.

Perhaps, but if you have teeth, aren't dental records a reasonable alternative? (Unless you mean just recovering a tooth)

Amadeus
2005-Jan-12, 03:14 PM
If people are concerned about being ID'ed after a disaster would a record of their DNA held with their other medical records not do this?

Depending on the disaster, you're looking at massive contamination of the corpse, the odds of a successful match to file DNA is reduced.

I have heard that teeth ae a good source of dna.

Perhaps, but if you have teeth, aren't dental records a reasonable alternative? (Unless you mean just recovering a tooth)

Yeah I ment in situations where the damage is so great the only things to survive intact are teeth not in situe. Besides in cases where the body has been so badly damaged a DNA test might mean the family can avoid the truama of identifing the body. Such as in burns cases

Bawheid
2005-Jan-12, 04:49 PM
My point was that, on the occasions when DNA id would be useful, this could be done without a central register.

Doodler
2005-Jan-12, 05:03 PM
If people are concerned about being ID'ed after a disaster would a record of their DNA held with their other medical records not do this?

Depending on the disaster, you're looking at massive contamination of the corpse, the odds of a successful match to file DNA is reduced.

I have heard that teeth ae a good source of dna.

Perhaps, but if you have teeth, aren't dental records a reasonable alternative? (Unless you mean just recovering a tooth)

Yeah I ment in situations where the damage is so great the only things to survive intact are teeth not in situe. Besides in cases where the body has been so badly damaged a DNA test might mean the family can avoid the truama of identifing the body. Such as in burns cases

In a lot of those cases, forensic teams fall back on other things, like jewelry, indentifying marks, ID, clothing. Its thankfully rare you get a case like 9/11 where tons (and yes, there were tons) of human body parts that were so badly destroy and marred as to be unattributable to the original owner.

Grotesque as it may sound, its actually pretty tough to truly eradicate all identifiable traces from a person. One man was convicted of murdering his wife based on the identification of a fingernail that was recovered that she had done in a designer pattern. This after he shot her, dismembered her and put her pieces through a woodchipper by a river.

Amadeus
2005-Jan-12, 05:07 PM
My point was that, on the occasions when DNA id would be useful, this could be done without a central register.

Well going back to your question..

If people are concerned about being ID'ed after a disaster would a record of their DNA held with their other medical records not do this?

You seem to be sugesting that your DNA should be recorded on your Medical records. Which is another type of central register and a lot less seccure than a goverment database.

Bawheid
2005-Jan-12, 05:12 PM
My point was that, on the occasions when DNA id would be useful, this could be done without a central register.

Well going back to your question..

If people are concerned about being ID'ed after a disaster would a record of their DNA held with their other medical records not do this?

You seem to be sugesting that your DNA should be recorded on your Medical records. Which is another type of central register and a lot less seccure than a goverment database.

I would disagree about the security aspect, if I was on a central register my records would be there. To obtain my medical records you would first have to find out who my doctor was.

Other than that I wasn't advocating such a system, simply offering it as an alternative.

Amadeus
2005-Jan-12, 05:22 PM
Well a few years back I had to register with a doctor and had to give all my details. I asume that information went to a cenral NHS database. Otherwise If I was in an accident not able to talk how would the doctors treating me be able to get my medical history.

Anyway the initial point of a database of DNA was a law and order one.

Stuff like this was only a fringe benifit.

Wally
2005-Jan-12, 05:29 PM
The Searches are a Bit Extreme, and Shouldn't be Allowed to Happen.

On the Other Hand, I see Little Reason, for a Law-Abiding Citizen, to NOT Have his DNA on File.

My Reasoning is Thus: If you didn't do it, your DNA, Will Prove that; Furthermore, if Everyone in a Town, Comes Forward, except for a Few People, the Police can Restrict their Search to them, and Just Maybe, Make an Arrest.

Just Remember, The TRUTH, Will Set you Free!

Where do you draw the line??? What if, in another 100 years, we have the technology to see everything that's in a person's mind. Would you see it as OK for the government to "read" that information into a database (with their "promise" that it would remain safe and secure, of course) on a yearly basis, simply so they knew who did what to whom, and could then arrest people accordingly???

That is what we Call, a Straw Man.

The Two, are NOT Similar, in The Slightest!

I respectively disagree. Replace "DNA" in your quote with "memory". Would you still make the same statement??? Both DNA and your memories/thoughts are personal. Both, if on file, would either prove your innocence or your guilt. Those who choose not to file their memories with the gov. would be looked at harder by police than those who did. While a very unlikely senario (to say the least!), I think it's a valid question as to how much of your own being are you willing to give to the gov.

A Thousand Pardons
2005-Jan-12, 07:36 PM
Too extreme, I say ...

The reason it's a Straw Man, is I don't routinely Leave a Thought Imprint, upon EVERYTHING, I Touch.

I do, however, Leave Skin Cells, Blood, Sweat, and Occasionally Semen ...
on everything you touch? yecchhh :)

It's not a straw man, it's a slippery slope argument, but regardless, the question still remains, where do we draw the line? That's what he is asking.


A National, or even International, Database of DNA Types, would Allow for the Rapid Investigation, of Any Crime, and Isn't That, Central to The 6th Amendment, The Right to a Speedy Trial?
No, not at all. The (USAn) Bill of Rights places restrictions and requirements on the state, not the individual. The individual has rights, like those guaranteed by the 5th Amendment--that "No person ... shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself"

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2005-Jan-12, 07:41 PM
The Searches are a Bit Extreme, and Shouldn't be Allowed to Happen.

On the Other Hand, I see Little Reason, for a Law-Abiding Citizen, to NOT Have his DNA on File.

My Reasoning is Thus: If you didn't do it, your DNA, Will Prove that; Furthermore, if Everyone in a Town, Comes Forward, except for a Few People, the Police can Restrict their Search to them, and Just Maybe, Make an Arrest.

Just Remember, The TRUTH, Will Set you Free!

Where do you draw the line??? What if, in another 100 years, we have the technology to see everything that's in a person's mind. Would you see it as OK for the government to "read" that information into a database (with their "promise" that it would remain safe and secure, of course) on a yearly basis, simply so they knew who did what to whom, and could then arrest people accordingly???

That is what we Call, a Straw Man.

The Two, are NOT Similar, in The Slightest!

I respectively disagree. Replace "DNA" in your quote with "memory". Would you still make the same statement??? Both DNA and your memories/thoughts are personal. Both, if on file, would either prove your innocence or your guilt. Those who choose not to file their memories with the gov. would be looked at harder by police than those who did. While a very unlikely senario (to say the least!), I think it's a valid question as to how much of your own being are you willing to give to the gov.

No, it's Not the Same, NOT in The Slightest!

For my Reasoning, Simply Read, What I Wrote here (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=395316#395316).

Doodler
2005-Jan-12, 07:44 PM
Too extreme, I say ...

The reason it's a Straw Man, is I don't routinely Leave a Thought Imprint, upon EVERYTHING, I Touch.

I do, however, Leave Skin Cells, Blood, Sweat, and Occasionally Semen ...
on everything you touch? yecchhh :)

It's not a straw man, it's a slippery slope argument, but regardless, the question still remains, where do we draw the line? That's what he is asking.


A National, or even International, Database of DNA Types, would Allow for the Rapid Investigation, of Any Crime, and Isn't That, Central to The 6th Amendment, The Right to a Speedy Trial?
No, not at all. The (USAn) Bill of Rights places restrictions and requirements on the state, not the individual. The individual has rights, like those guaranteed by the 5th Amendment--that "No person ... shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself"

I did a little reading last night wondering if this kind of thing would fall under Habeas Corpus. It would be an interesting stretch, but if the government wants to take a piece of you and put it on file, just in case, they'd better have a pretty compelling reason for it.

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2005-Jan-12, 07:46 PM
Too extreme, I say ...

The reason it's a Straw Man, is I don't routinely Leave a Thought Imprint, upon EVERYTHING, I Touch.

I do, however, Leave Skin Cells, Blood, Sweat, and Occasionally Semen ...
on everything you touch? yecchhh :)

It's not a straw man, it's a slippery slope argument, but regardless, the question still remains, where do we draw the line? That's what he is asking.


A National, or even International, Database of DNA Types, would Allow for the Rapid Investigation, of Any Crime, and Isn't That, Central to The 6th Amendment, The Right to a Speedy Trial?
No, not at all. The (USAn) Bill of Rights places restrictions and requirements on the state, not the individual. The individual has rights, like those guaranteed by the 5th Amendment--that "No person ... shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself"

The Database, is Where I Draw the Line, as I routinely Leave my DNA, in Places Where it Can Be Found, Quite Unlike, my Thoughts!

Also, a Speedy Investigation, is Better for All Concerned, as Well as the Guilt, as it Allows for More Timely Evidence, to Be Brought to Trial; Hence the Idea of a, Statute of Limitations, to Keep Old Cases, from Forever Clogging Up, The Legal System!

beskeptical
2005-Jan-12, 08:29 PM
There really is very little difference in DNA 'fingerprinting' and fingerprinting.
That is probably true, but to the best of my knowledge, I don't think that there has ever been a "mass" fingerprinting, where they bring in thousands of suspects.

I'd imagine that most people's fingerprints are not on file.No, the mass screening is not done or at least not to my knowledge.

But if it were fingerprints that were asked for, would it elicit the same response? Maybe but with fewer people objecting would be my guess. I think people have weird ideas about DNA tests that they don't share about fingerprints.

Disinfo Agent
2005-Jan-12, 08:40 PM
From this (http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/01/10/cape.cod.murder.ap/index.html) CNN article. Some town in Mass. is requesting all men to give a sample of their DNA in order to aid in solving a 3 year old murder case. The ACLU (Amer. Civil Liberties Union, for you guys overseas) is, of course, protesting the move.
Whatever happened to investigating, and finding suspects? :-?

Kebsis
2005-Jan-12, 08:48 PM
I would probably give a sample, unless I was the murderer of course. Which seems to invalidate the whole thing.

Doodler
2005-Jan-12, 10:30 PM
I would probably give a sample, unless I was the murderer of course. Which seems to invalidate the whole thing.

Pretty much on the nose. "Me thinks thou doth protest too much" is a cut and dried violation of the presumption of innocence. If you are innocent, then you have no reason to cooperate at all, which by its very nature undermines the process. Under current jurisprudence, you cannot be convicted based on your unwillingness to submit to a voluntary investigation/examination.

GarethB
2005-Jan-12, 11:23 PM
The Searches are a Bit Extreme, and Shouldn't be Allowed to Happen.

On the Other Hand, I see Little Reason, for a Law-Abiding Citizen, to NOT Have his DNA on File.

My Reasoning is Thus: If you didn't do it, your DNA, Will Prove that; Furthermore, if Everyone in a Town, Comes Forward, except for a Few People, the Police can Restrict their Search to them, and Just Maybe, Make an Arrest.

Just Remember, The TRUTH, Will Set you Free!

Zaphod, would you also agree to random police searches of your home without warning, on the basis that a law abiding citizen "has nothing to hide"?

I have no problem with government temporarily obtaining DNA for a particular investigation and then destroying the DNA records of innocent people afterwards. I have mixed feelings about government keeping everyone's DNA on permanent record. On one hand, government should show compelling reason to keep anyone's DNA on permanent record. On the other hand, there can be valid reasons to have records of people's DNA that don't include criminal investigation, such as identifying individuals who died in natural disasters (Thailand has promised to identify every foreigner who was killed in Thailand during the recent tsunami, and DNA testing is a central part of this effort). Even in a situation like this, it's not neccesary to have everyone's DNA, close relatives of people who are missing and were known to be in the affected area can give DNA samples for matching (although in the case of people who were adopted that may be a problem).

On the whole I take the position that unless government has a specific interest in examining my DNA, they have no automatic right to have a record of it, and must have compelling reason to keep it on file permanently if they ever obtain a record of my DNA.

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2005-Jan-13, 02:47 AM
The Searches are a Bit Extreme, and Shouldn't be Allowed to Happen.

On the Other Hand, I see Little Reason, for a Law-Abiding Citizen, to NOT Have his DNA on File.

My Reasoning is Thus: If you didn't do it, your DNA, Will Prove that; Furthermore, if Everyone in a Town, Comes Forward, except for a Few People, the Police can Restrict their Search to them, and Just Maybe, Make an Arrest.

Just Remember, The TRUTH, Will Set you Free!

Zaphod, would you also agree to random police searches of your home without warning, on the basis that a law abiding citizen "has nothing to hide"?

I have no problem with government temporarily obtaining DNA for a particular investigation and then destroying the DNA records of innocent people afterwards. I have mixed feelings about government keeping everyone's DNA on permanent record. On one hand, government should show compelling reason to keep anyone's DNA on permanent record. On the other hand, there can be valid reasons to have records of people's DNA that don't include criminal investigation, such as identifying individuals who died in natural disasters (Thailand has promised to identify every foreigner who was killed in Thailand during the recent tsunami, and DNA testing is a central part of this effort). Even in a situation like this, it's not neccesary to have everyone's DNA, close relatives of people who are missing and were known to be in the affected area can give DNA samples for matching (although in the case of people who were adopted that may be a problem).

On the whole I take the position that unless government has a specific interest in examining my DNA, they have no automatic right to have a record of it, and must have compelling reason to keep it on file permanently if they ever obtain a record of my DNA.

I See NO Reason for these Straw Men!

Having my DNA on File, is No Different from Having my Fingerprints, there.

Sheesh Peopole, Get with The 21st Century, Ned Ludd, Went THAT Way!

Wally
2005-Jan-13, 02:31 PM
Zaphod. Put away your hatred for straw men for a second, and simply answer the question "how far are you willing to go" in providing personal information to the government in order to prove your innocence.

Would you be comfortable being required to perform yearly "mind-dumps", or to have your house routinely searched.

Simply answer yes or no, regardless of whether you see these as straw men. A few of us here are just curious as to where you would draw the line.

In answer to the fingerprint issue, I would object to forcibly having to provide that as well, for all the same reasons, although as Doodler (I think) suggested above, for some reason fingerprinting doesn't seem as much a violation as DNA. This is most likely due to it's being an "external/non-biological" means of identification.

[editted - it was beskep. that mentioned reaction to fingerprinting rather than doodler]

Amadeus
2005-Jan-13, 03:10 PM
Zaphod. Put away your hatred for straw men for a second, and simply answer the question "how far are you willing to go" in providing personal information to the government in order to prove your innocence.

Would you be comfortable being required to perform yearly "mind-dumps", or to have your house routinely searched.

Simply answer yes or no, regardless of whether you see these as straw men. A few of us here are just curious as to where you would draw the line.

He already did.





Too extreme, I say ...

The reason it's a Straw Man, is I don't routinely Leave a Thought Imprint, upon EVERYTHING, I Touch.

I do, however, Leave Skin Cells, Blood, Sweat, and Occasionally Semen ...
on everything you touch? yecchhh :)

It's not a straw man, it's a slippery slope argument, but regardless, the question still remains, where do we draw the line? That's what he is asking.


A National, or even International, Database of DNA Types, would Allow for the Rapid Investigation, of Any Crime, and Isn't That, Central to The 6th Amendment, The Right to a Speedy Trial?
No, not at all. The (USAn) Bill of Rights places restrictions and requirements on the state, not the individual. The individual has rights, like those guaranteed by the 5th Amendment--that "No person ... shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself"

The Database, is Where I Draw the Line, as I routinely Leave my DNA, in Places Where it Can Be Found, Quite Unlike, my Thoughts!

Also, a Speedy Investigation, is Better for All Concerned, as Well as the Guilt, as it Allows for More Timely Evidence, to Be Brought to Trial; Hence the Idea of a, Statute of Limitations, to Keep Old Cases, from Forever Clogging Up, The Legal System!

Wally
2005-Jan-13, 03:13 PM
I took his "too extreme" reply as being targetted at my question, not as his response to my question.

Mayhaps I did so in error. . .

A Thousand Pardons
2005-Jan-13, 08:26 PM
I See NO Reason for these Straw Men!

"Straw men" are arguments or conclusions falsely attributed to your opponent, and easily dispensed with. These are not straw men, since no one is sayng that you support them. I think Wally is asking how far we should go.


Having my DNA on File, is No Different from Having my Fingerprints, there.
A lot of people are unwilling to even give their fingerprints, and wouldn't unless compelled.


Sheesh Peopole, Get with The 21st Century, Ned Ludd, Went THAT Way!
That's not the issue. No one is saying they are afraid of technology.

Gramma loreto
2005-Jan-14, 06:51 PM
Too extreme, I say ...

The reason it's a Straw Man, is I don't routinely Leave a Thought Imprint, upon EVERYTHING, I Touch.

I do, however, Leave Skin Cells, Blood, Sweat, and Occasionally Semen ...

Criminals may also leave other types of trace evidence at a crime scene, such as clothing or carpet fibers. Or maybe the murder weapon is a Wüsthof kitchen knife. Wouldn't it be nice to know who might be missing on from the knife block? If only the police had a record of everyone who owned such things.

Perhaps the authorities should conduct blanket searces of all persons and property to catalog any and all things which could potentially be left at a crime scene. Surely, this would be much more efficient than actually having to identify a likely suspect, then establish probable cause to search that person and/or property for links to the items in question.

beskeptical
2005-Jan-15, 04:34 AM
There are two questions here, DNA data bases per se and mass screenings for DNA.

As to the databases, well there are plenty of precedents. I am more disgusted with marketing databases than with government ones and I even think I am in one of those FBI files from the 70s.

However, in the 60s and 70s when the gov was collecting lots of data on innocent citizens, (as it is again but we can't go there), there was a danger to freedom involved.

If it were random searches of one's home to find evidence of a killer, I think most people would have drawn the line sooner than that. But what if the government goes through an existing data base for an unrelated purpose? They do that all the time.

Anyway, no conclusions, just some thoughts on the matter.

HerrProfessorDoktor
2005-Jan-15, 09:16 AM
This topic reminds me of the best argument I've heard against a military draft: To accept a draft, you have to accept that you and your childrens' bodies and lives are de facto the property of the State, simply by chance of being born here. You are not free individuals but subjects to a sort of monarchy.

I for one will say nothing of mine is the property of the State, not my mind, body, possessions or DNA. Nor is knowledge of these things inherently granted to the State. (Taxes? Eh, that's another complicated subject :wink:)

Most everyone has a fetish for their occupation. Legislators will always want to pass more laws. Law enforcement will always want new techniques to monitor who is breaking the law. In their perfect world there would be a law against everything and cameras in every house. It's up to us citizens to keep their urges in check.

The founders of the United States fought and sacrificed, and put mechanisms in place to assure government would never grow outside its minimal required bounds. But, if you read their writings (especially Jefferson), it seems they expected their descendants to be vigilant and uphold this ideal as well. Unfortunately, this has not been the case. Instead, we are pliant and submissive to authority. We need to learn to grow spines and say "enough" when things get out of hand.

Do you realize how many stupid, meaningless laws are on the books in your locality? Do you know how many of those laws you break every week? Do you think prosecutors really have your best interest in mind, once you are singled out as a suspect? And, do you think they will only use their files on you (DNA, etc...) to investigate serious crimes like murder, or do you think they'll use it for anything they can, first chance they get?

Sorry for the libertarian rant, but when I think about what my country could have been and what it has become it makes me furious. :evil: I don't want the thread to devolve too far into politics, so this is my sole opinion on the matter. I think your opinion on this subject should be dictated by the big picture of what you think a government is and what it should be capable of doing.

Bawheid
2005-Jan-21, 02:04 PM
Would you feel the same way when a policeman comes to your door saying that a local girl was raped and killed and asked if they could have a sample?
Yes. There was talk of this a year ago in Edinburgh after a couple of attacks, and after a recent murder in Midlothian

The murder case I mention above has just finished with the boyfriend (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4187007.stm)being found guilty. Old fashioned detective work caught him without the need for mass sampling. There had been talk at the start of testing every male in the area.

captain swoop
2005-Jan-21, 02:26 PM
The murder case I mention above has just finished with the boyfriend (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4187007.stm)being found guilty. Old fashioned detective work caught him without the need for mass sampling. There had been talk at the start of testing every male in the area.

As far as I can see in that case there was no DNA evidence offered, no weapon was recovered and no blood or other forensic evidence was offered against him, in addition he had an Alibi for the time corroberated by a witness. He seems to have been convicted because he was a Marilyn manson fan.

Bawheid
2005-Jan-21, 02:30 PM
Like I said, old fashioned police work. :D

Wally
2005-Jan-21, 03:17 PM
"Just because I am more violent than others and cut myself, does that justify some pompous git of a teacher to refer me to a psychiatrist?



uhm. yeeeaaaah. . .

captain swoop
2005-Jan-21, 03:24 PM
Like I said, old fashioned police work. :D

If you look back at the history of cases like this in the UK you usualy find that it's overturned on appeal about 15 years later. Things were so bad they set up the Criminal Cases Review board to go through old convictions.

Bawheid
2005-Jan-21, 03:57 PM
Virtually all the cases overturned in the UK have been English. Scots Law rules of evidence and corroboration are stricter than English (one reason the Libyans agreed to a trial under Scots Law). The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (http://www.sccrc.com/) haven't overturned many.

There is of course the old police maxim that it is always the husband/boyfriend which does become self fulfilling prophecy.

Amadeus
2005-Jan-21, 04:03 PM
Like I said, old fashioned police work. :D

If you look back at the history of cases like this in the UK you usualy find that it's overturned on appeal about 15 years later. Things were so bad they set up the Criminal Cases Review board to go through old convictions.

It used to be that the confession under interegation was all you needed to get a conviction. So what happend is when someone was killed and there was no leads the police would have a go at the usual supects and keep on at them until they cracked. A lot of these cases being reviewed were only based on a confession.

Old fashioned police work.... you can keep it. Give me police work backed up and cross checked by modern technology anyday. [-X

Bawheid
2005-Jan-21, 04:19 PM
It used to be that the confession under interegation was all you needed to get a conviction. So what happend is when someone was killed and there was no leads the police would have a go at the usual supects and keep on at them until they cracked. A lot of these cases being reviewed were only based on a confession.

Old fashioned police work.... you can keep it. Give me police work backed up and cross checked by modern technology anyday. [-X

Again, almost all english cases, the only one I can think of up here is the ice cream murders (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/3568727.stm).

Edit to add link

Bawheid
2005-Jan-21, 04:24 PM
As far as I can see in that case there was no DNA evidence offered, no weapon was recovered and no blood or other forensic evidence was offered against him, in addition he had an Alibi for the time corroberated by a witness. He seems to have been convicted because he was a Marilyn manson fan.

The alibi was his mother, who may also have burned his clothes, which were never found. His own brother says he wasn't at home when he claims giving the splendid reason:

"But the evidence of Luke's brother Shane was crucial.

Computer records revealed he was in the house viewing internet porn and he testified that he had taken precautions to ensure he was alone. "

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2005-Jan-21, 04:53 PM
I See NO Reason for these Straw Men!
"Straw men" are arguments or conclusions falsely attributed to your opponent, and easily dispensed with. These are not straw men, since no one is sayng that you support them. I think Wally is asking how far we should go.

I said How Far, I'll Go ...

An International Record of DNA Types, which can be Refferred to, in The Event of A Crime.




Having my DNA on File, is No Different from Having my Fingerprints, there.
A lot of people are unwilling to even give their fingerprints, and wouldn't unless compelled.

Which is Anti-Social, on the One Hand, and Thinly Veiled Luddism, on The Other!

If Everyone's Finger Prints and DNA Types, were On File, Very Little Crime would Be Committed, as Breaking the Law, would Carry a Sure Penalty.

Isn't that Better, for ALL Concerned?




Sheesh Peopole, Get with The 21st Century, Ned Ludd, Went THAT Way!
That's not the issue. No one is saying they are afraid of technology.

Of course they are!

That's Why you All, Keep Putting Words, in My Mouth!

SeanF
2005-Jan-21, 05:01 PM
Having my DNA on File, is No Different from Having my Fingerprints, there.
A lot of people are unwilling to even give their fingerprints, and wouldn't unless compelled.
Which is Anti-Social, on the One Hand, and Thinly Veiled Luddism, on The Other!
Anti-social, sure - not that there's anything wrong with that. Luddism? Not even by a stretch.


If Everyone's Finger Prints and DNA Types, were On File, Very Little Crime would Be Committed, as Breaking the Law, would Carry a Sure Penalty.

Isn't that Better, for ALL Concerned?
In and of itself, fewer crimes is something to be strived for. But the ends do not justify the means.

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2005-Jan-21, 05:20 PM
Having my DNA on File, is No Different from Having my Fingerprints, there.
A lot of people are unwilling to even give their fingerprints, and wouldn't unless compelled.
Which is Anti-Social, on the One Hand, and Thinly Veiled Luddism, on The Other!
Anti-social, sure - not that there's anything wrong with that. Luddism? Not even by a stretch.

Maybe, just a Little?

You wouldn't React the Same Way, to an International Finger Print Registry, would you?



If Everyone's Finger Prints and DNA Types, were On File, Very Little Crime would Be Committed, as Breaking the Law, would Carry a Sure Penalty.

Isn't that Better, for ALL Concerned?
In and of itself, fewer crimes is something to be strived for. But the ends do not justify the means.

Of Course, they do.

That's the Basic Assumption of Government:

Give up a Few Rights, in Exchange, for Having the Rest Protected.

As I am, An Honest and Law Abiding Citizen, this is a Right, I Won't Miss, or in fact, Even Notice, except, for The Resultant, Reduction in Crime.

SeanF
2005-Jan-21, 05:52 PM
Having my DNA on File, is No Different from Having my Fingerprints, there.
A lot of people are unwilling to even give their fingerprints, and wouldn't unless compelled.
Which is Anti-Social, on the One Hand, and Thinly Veiled Luddism, on The Other!
Anti-social, sure - not that there's anything wrong with that. Luddism? Not even by a stretch.

Maybe, just a Little?

You wouldn't React the Same Way, to an International Finger Print Registry, would you?
Yes. I would strongly object to a fingerprint registry, even if the registry consisted of a bunch of file cards in a cabinet with peoples fingerprints inked on them. So, it's not based on an objection to the technology, so it's not Luddism.




If Everyone's Finger Prints and DNA Types, were On File, Very Little Crime would Be Committed, as Breaking the Law, would Carry a Sure Penalty.

Isn't that Better, for ALL Concerned?
In and of itself, fewer crimes is something to be strived for. But the ends do not justify the means.
Of Course, they do.

That's the Basic Assumption of Government:

Give up a Few Rights, in Exchange, for Having the Rest Protected.
But what rights to give up in order to protect what rights? If the rights being protected are ultimately less important than the rights being given up, then the ends do not justify the means.


As I am, An Honest and Law Abiding Citizen, this is a Right, I Won't Miss, or in fact, Even Notice, except, for The Resultant, Reduction in Crime.


WORF: If a man is not afraid of the truth, he would answer.
PICARD: No. We must not let ourselves think that. The Seventh Guarantee is one of the most important rights granted by the Federation. We cannot use one of the fundamental principles of our Constitution and turn it against a citizen.
WORF: Sir... the Federation does have enemies... we must seek them out...
PICARD: Yes... that's how it starts. But the road from legitimate suspicion to rampant paranoia is shorter than we might think. Something is wrong here, Worf... I don't like what we have become.
From Star Trek: The Next Generation, "The Drumhead."

"If you're innocent, you have nothing to fear," is a dangerous attitude . . .

Metricyard
2005-Jan-21, 06:11 PM
ZaphodBeeblebrox wrote:
As I am, An Honest and Law Abiding Citizen, this is a Right, I Won't Miss, or in fact, Even Notice, except, for The Resultant, Reduction in Crime.

Funny, the USA fingerprints all felons. Doesn't stop them from committing crimes again if their released from jail. I'm sure it's the same in most countries. Setting up a national database will not lower crime at all. The death penalty hasn't stopped people from committing murders. Neither will a national or global database.

I myself had to get fingerprinted to own a firearm in Massachusetts. Doesn't help much to find criminals though. And with most criminals, I doubt that they'll submit to giving their DNA willingly.

Wally
2005-Jan-27, 03:50 PM
"If you're innocent, you have nothing to fear," is a dangerous attitude . . .

Amen Sean!!!

Zaphod. Why stop at a DNA data base if you feel giving up rights for the good of the rest is a good thing? I know I'm running in circles here, but I would think if that is your honest opinion, then why would you be opposed to spontaneous searches of your home on a periodic basis, including (of course) the dumping of all your computer files, etc. etc. etc. ???

swansont
2005-Jan-27, 04:42 PM
Arguements that
Basicly say "I don't want the evil goverment to have my DNA on file" You better never apply for a credit card,pay tax or live in a city if you're that worried. How do you think the goverment are going to miss use this?




Here's one scenario: You have mom, dad and baby's DNA on file. Some enterprising investigator runs a check and notices that dad could not be the biological dad - mom cheated on him, and here's the proof. Do you want the government, or an individual within the government, to be the owners of that information, along with the leverage for blackmail/extortion?

The danger isn't so much in what happens if the government follows the rules, it's that long history of governments (and individuals therein) deciding that the rules don't apply.

Bawheid
2005-Jan-27, 04:52 PM
Tangentially; there was a study in Hull in the UK where they were testing DNA to check something or other and found that about 30% of "fathers" weren't. I'll try and find a link.

Edit: Couldn't find it, but found this (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3023513.stm) which suggests a figure of 5% in the UK.

beskeptical
2005-Jan-27, 06:52 PM
30% did seem too high to be believable in Western culture anyway. 5% is interesting though.

Of course people fear technology, ATP. They resist and fear technological innovations. Frankenstein and the radiation made monsters of the 50s are testaments to such fears.

As to the DNA, fingerprints, and not yet mentioned but previously in a similar category, number IDs for everyone like SSNs, I don't understand why folks are so worried about being identified or identifiable. I'm much more worried about the massive computer databases that profile us than whether or not I have identifiers in a file somewhere.

A Thousand Pardons
2005-Jan-27, 07:17 PM
Of course people fear technology, ATP. They resist and fear technological innovations. Frankenstein and the radiation made monsters of the 50s are testaments to such fears.
Not everybody is afraid of technology. Still not the issue, though (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=396471#396471) :)

beskeptical
2005-Jan-27, 08:15 PM
Of course people fear technology, ATP. They resist and fear technological innovations. Frankenstein and the radiation made monsters of the 50s are testaments to such fears.
Not everybody is afraid of technology. Still not the issue, though (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=396471#396471) :)Well to some people in the conversation it certainly is.

Like Doodler. (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=394776#394776)

and Amadeus noted Sidmel's concern about new technology (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=394788#394788)

We aren't talking about collecting everyone's fingerprints. I did say however, that there were 2 issues, one was the DNA issue and one was the mass searches issue.

And I'm not sure who said 'everybody' was afraid of tech.

Wally
2005-Jan-27, 08:39 PM
As to the DNA, fingerprints, and not yet mentioned but previously in a similar category, number IDs for everyone like SSNs, I don't understand why folks are so worried about being identified or identifiable

Beskept. I think there's a world of difference between required fingerprinting\DNA and SSN's. The former pair are a highly unique part of myself, while the later is a government created/assigned identifier used to simply to represent an individual.

A Thousand Pardons
2005-Jan-27, 08:49 PM
Well to some people in the conversation it certainly is.

Like Doodler. (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=394776#394776)

and Amadeus noted Sidmel's concern about new technology (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=394788#394788)
Doodler, Sidmel, are you afraid of technology?

Madcat
2005-Jan-27, 10:41 PM
Here's one scenario: You have mom, dad and baby's DNA on file. Some enterprising investigator runs a check and notices that dad could not be the biological dad - mom cheated on him, and here's the proof. Do you want the government, or an individual within the government, to be the owners of that information, along with the leverage for blackmail/extortion?

A girl in my Genetics lab got REAL upset last week when we did pedigrees of our extended families.

(what was she thinking?! You're supposed to make that stuff up, not call all your relatives and bother them! 8) )

Doodler
2005-Jan-27, 10:45 PM
Of course people fear technology, ATP. They resist and fear technological innovations. Frankenstein and the radiation made monsters of the 50s are testaments to such fears.
Not everybody is afraid of technology. Still not the issue, though (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=396471#396471) :)Well to some people in the conversation it certainly is.

Like Doodler. (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=394776#394776)

and Amadeus noted Sidmel's concern about new technology (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=394788#394788)

We aren't talking about collecting everyone's fingerprints. I did say however, that there were 2 issues, one was the DNA issue and one was the mass searches issue.

And I'm not sure who said 'everybody' was afraid of tech.

You're misquoting me. The tech doesn't bother me at all. Its a great tool. What I really have issue with is the unrestricted use of said tool without due process. You want my DNA, you can have it. Show me a court order or a guy with a gun aimed at my head.

Disinfo Agent
2005-Jan-28, 11:25 AM
Many people have been comparing DNA sampling to fingerprinting. But isn't there a fundamental difference? Fingerprinting allows anyone to identify who you are - and that's it. I doesn't give any more information about you.

With DNA sampling, wouldn't you get a lot of additional information about the individual, such as certain illnessess that he may be susceptible to, congenital health problems, etc.?

I think the question is that with DNA comes a great deal of information about the person, and we aren't even fully aware yet of what information can be found in it!

Bawheid
2005-Jan-28, 04:23 PM
30% did seem too high to be believable in Western culture anyway. 5% is interesting though. (Edit)

This article (http://members.cox.net/brucegary3/Articles/sperm_wars.html) quotes the American College of Medical Genetics as having a rule of thumb of 10%, with some studies showing 15 - 25% in the US and Canada.

I think the original article I saw was a small scale survey of part of the population, rather than a general sample.

WARNING; Article linked to contains biology, may be unsuitable for children.

Editted repeatedly to fix link.

Nethius
2005-Jan-28, 04:36 PM
i agree with alot of others.... unelss they have a specific reason to test my DNA, not just becasue i'm male, i wouldnt give it up.

the main reason has already been mentioned, DNA is testd by humans, and humans can make mistakes.... i dont want to go on trial for a murder i did not commit

Amadeus
2005-Jan-28, 04:58 PM
i agree with alot of others.... unelss they have a specific reason to test my DNA, not just becasue i'm male, i wouldnt give it up.

the main reason has already been mentioned, DNA is testd by humans, and humans can make mistakes.... i dont want to go on trial for a murder i did not commit

Well they are unlikely to check the crime scene sample against every sample in the database. The logical thing to do would be to first test
possible suspects involved with the victim.

If that provides no results then they would check against people in the area.

And so on. It would proberbly be a very rare thing to check against the whole national database.

As for humans making mistakes... Well this would apply to any type of evidense. Which would you trust more, a dna match or an eye witness that says they saw you form 10 feet away at night for a split second?

Nethius
2005-Jan-28, 05:57 PM
As for humans making mistakes... Well this would apply to any type of evidense. Which would you trust more, a dna match or an eye witness that says they saw you form 10 feet away at night for a split second?

Very true, if someone said they spotted me, then yes I would give DNA. But not just because I have a p****!

oh and also the life insurance thing... insurance companies could denie you because you have some strand of whatever desease in your DNA. I know they would say DNA wouldnt be used for that, but things change over time.

TimH
2005-Jan-28, 06:10 PM
<snip> i dont want to go on trial for a murder i did not commit

Really? If I'm going on trial for murder, I'd prefer to have not commited the murder :wink:

Sorry - I know what you meant - See, I have a weakness that doesn't let me pass up an oppertunity to be a wise guy.

Anyway, back to the topic, (I think this has been said before) I have no problem with the local authorities asking for DNA -, but using refusal as suspicion of guilt is disturbing. I have very strong 'slippery slope' concerns when civil liberties are threatened and this sort of situation is about as slippery as can be.[/i]

beskeptical
2005-Jan-28, 06:15 PM
As to the DNA, fingerprints, and not yet mentioned but previously in a similar category, number IDs for everyone like SSNs, I don't understand why folks are so worried about being identified or identifiable

Beskept. I think there's a world of difference between required fingerprinting\DNA and SSN's. The former pair are a highly unique part of myself, while the later is a government created/assigned identifier used to simply to represent an individual.But I don't. They're all just identifiers.

What difference does it make if your name is identified in a file with a number or a fingerprint or both?

And the DNA we are talking about here is only an ID issue. No one is deciphering genomes from DNA in police files. That's not likely to happen and anyone familiar with the science and the cost which no police department is going to want to incur would not be worried.

The worst that could happen as far as privacy might be some court order to use a sample to check paternity, and that could just as easily be an order to get a sample from the person directly.

Disinfo Agent
2005-Jan-28, 06:35 PM
And the DNA we are talking about here is only an ID issue. No one is deciphering genomes from DNA in police files. That's not likely to happen and anyone familiar with the science and the cost which no police department is going to want to incur would not be worried.
Two objections:

1) It may be very costly today, but what about tomorrow?

2) What if someone at the police office slips a sample of your DNA over to their brother, who just happens to work for your insurance company?

beskeptical
2005-Jan-28, 06:39 PM
Just to sort this fear thing out here, the term is not referring to cowering under one's bed.

But look at some of the comments. Someone could do this or that with the information. These comments reflect a reality which is not valid.

One can do some genetic testing for some genetic markers or defects, in a medical lab with very specific tests at very great expense.

DNA for comparing one sample to another such as criminal or parentage ID is completely different and doesn't give any results other than whether the two specimens are from the same person or family.

And how far fetched is the idea some investigator is going to use DNA collected the same way a fingerprint might be to find out a child's father isn't the one the kid thinks? That info could come out any number of ways. By the time someone is using a DNA database to investigate biological parentage we will all be dead or at least the whole world will be a different place. If that was the investigator's goal, they could just follow you and gather some DNA you left behind.

If the information was accidentally seen, well that is true for thousands and thousands of confidential medical records, criminal records, tax records, personnel files, school records, and so on. Somehow a DNA record seems the least troublesome.

(The following uses the collective"you" and isn't anyone in particular)

This is what I mean about fear of technology. You know what a medical record is and what confidentiality you expect. You don't worry giving the information to the doctor and you protest a law that allows drug marketers to access it.

But with DNA, you don't know what can happen with it or what info could be obtained within it. So you protest it's use in ways that really differ little from fingerprints when you wouldn't protest use of a fingerprint. You list possibility after possibility that could happen with it when none of those things are happening nor are they likely to happen.

These fears are misguided. (The idea of mass testing to match a criminal is a different subject so don't confuse that with my discussion here of DNA records themselves.)

Disinfo Agent
2005-Jan-28, 06:49 PM
You list possibility after possibility that could happen with it when none of those things are happening nor are they likely to happen.
They're not happening because the authorities do not have DNA databases.

Lurker
2005-Jan-28, 07:01 PM
It seems to me that this is just a basic perversion of the concept "a presumption of innocence". If items were stolen from a local hardware store, one way to find the guilty party would be to search everyone's house until the missing items were found. This is not allowed in this country because of the "presumption of innocence" concept. The state must first show probably cause and have a court of law approve the search.

this gathering of DNA in this random fashion seems to be just another case of attempting to chip away at what, in my opinion, should be a basic right.

A Thousand Pardons
2005-Jan-28, 07:06 PM
This is not allowed in this country because of the "presumption of innocence" concept. The state must first show probably cause and have a court of law approve the search.
Even fingerprints are gathered mostly from law-breakers and the military, right? (Although, NSA wanted them too...)

PS: there's probably not three less innocent groups. :)

SeanF
2005-Jan-28, 07:14 PM
So you protest it's use in ways that really differ little from fingerprints when you wouldn't protest use of a fingerprint.
I know you're using "you" in the generic sense, but I wonder . . .

All the comparisons here, at least for me, have been the same - I object to a mass DNA database, and I object to a mass fingerprint database; I accept DNA testing with just cause, I accept fingerprint testing with just cause.

Has anybody in this thread actually made a distinction, re: fingerprints being acceptable but DNA not?

Demigrog
2005-Jan-28, 07:18 PM
As to the DNA, fingerprints, and not yet mentioned but previously in a similar category, number IDs for everyone like SSNs, I don't understand why folks are so worried about being identified or identifiable

Beskept. I think there's a world of difference between required fingerprinting\DNA and SSN's. The former pair are a highly unique part of myself, while the later is a government created/assigned identifier used to simply to represent an individual.But I don't. They're all just identifiers.

What difference does it make if your name is identified in a file with a number or a fingerprint or both?


The problem as I see it-- names and SSN can be legally changed, while DNA and fingerprints cannot.

Example why this is bad: John Doe has a good job, life etc. Random person falsely accuses him of a heinous crime. He is found not guilty in court, but the media has already demonized him to the point where his life is destroyed. His best hope is to move somewhere else, possibly change his name, and start over.

These days, that is already very hard to do because a simple Google search can dig up lots of stuff against you. Poor John Doe may be rejected for jobs, housing, credit, etc. based on the slanderous newspaper reports and not on his actual (clean) criminal record. Worse, a gossipy neighbor looked him up on Google and now his whole neighborhood is making his life a living hell. If John Doe changes his name, it helps a little against casual searches by gossipy neighbors while still allowing legal and logical background checks when necessary.

Enter DNA/Fingerprints as a ubiquitous way of identifying people. Background search tools on the web can easily compare DNA profiles from multiple databases, linking John’s old and new identities. John can no longer get away from his unfair persecution.

Toss in witness protection, political persecution, victims of crime, relationships gone bad, etc, and you’ve got a lot of people that can get hurt by new technology. You can make a case for it being good for keeping real crime under control, but I side with protecting the innocent over punishing the guilty—after all, criminals should be able to rebuild their lives in a law abiding way. If you make it impossible to overcome the past, you’ve merely created a lot of life-long criminals.

Legal restrictions on access to the DNA and fingerprint data might help a little, but law rarely keeps up with criminals when it comes to abuses of technology—suppose for example NoseyNeighbors.com operates from some Elbonia-like country, outside of US law. Plus, it might be technically impossible to control the spread of bio-identifier data. For that data to be useful in the first place, it has to be accessible somehow. Some form of bio-ident driven public key encryption might work, but the early bugs in the system might cause a lot of grief.

For that matter, what legal protections do we have right now? Suppose tomorrow that your credit card started requiring you to scan your thumb at every transaction. At first glance, I’d say “great, now nobody can steal my money without leaving evidence”. Next question: “Can my credit card company sell access to my fingerprint pattern?” What law is protecting us against this today?

Back to the point of the OP: Suppose somebody that agreed to a police DNA sweep applies for a job ten years later, when DNA ident is commonplace. The DNA samples from that sweep show up in a DNA background search. Employer goes, “wow, this guy was a suspect in a police murder investigation!” and skips on to the next applicant. Far fetched? Consider that the first cut of job applicants is often done by a computer algorithm that may not care about details like “6000 other people were also suspects”—its might indeed ding that person’s score. So, access to that database had darned well better be restricted. Better yet, the DNA profiles collected should not be kept, or even collected in the first place.

Lurker
2005-Jan-28, 07:22 PM
Has anybody in this thread actually made a distinction, re: fingerprints being acceptable but DNA not?

I don't think either one is acceptable on a random, wide spread basis. I think that those who have committed a crime may lose some of their rights to privacy in order that others may be protected. As a random law abiding citizen, however, I don't understand why I must submit to such intrusion into my life just because it might make solving crimes easier.

If we all wore global positioning collars it would make solving crimes easier too, but I don't believe that I should have to provide that much information about myself to anyone unless cause can be shown. I have a private life and I should have the right to pursue that life with out intrusion until the state can show just cause to interfere.

Demigrog
2005-Jan-28, 07:31 PM
If we all wore global positioning collars it would make solving crimes easier too, but I don't believe that I should have to provide that much information about myself to anyone unless cause can be shown. I have a private life and I should have the right to pursue that life with out intrusion until the state can show just cause to interfere.

On the other hand, I keep my GPS on at all times while driving, so I have my own independent record of my driving habits. It may or may not come in handy if I get pulled over by an incompetent radar operator, or accused of not stopping at that stop sign after a wreck, etc. :)

Darasen
2005-Jan-28, 07:54 PM
I personally have no problem with giving a DNA sample. My finger prints are already on file in the NCIC whats a little DNA? (From working in law enforcement) I honestly think everyone should be finger printed to get a drivers license.
A side note some one was saying earlier how DNA has proven people innocent that were in prison. While that is tue to an extent many have been proven still guilty.

pghnative
2005-Jan-28, 08:12 PM
I'm not sure I understand the splitting of hairs between fingerprints and DNA. As several posters have said in one form or another, this issue can be worded thusly:

"Would you give up the right of presumption of innocence in order to help solve a crime"

I wouldn't give a fingerprint, a DNA sample, bite impression, foot size or even a willing photograph. Unless we stand up for the rights we have (even at the cost of our neighbors whispering "gee, why didn't so-and-so let them take a DNA sample"), then we risk losing them.

Disinfo Agent
2005-Jan-28, 08:34 PM
Has anybody in this thread actually made a distinction, re: fingerprints being acceptable but DNA not?
I kind of did...

Doodler
2005-Jan-28, 08:57 PM
Has anybody in this thread actually made a distinction, re: fingerprints being acceptable but DNA not?

Here's the rundown of my take on it.

On a regular basis, i give out my fingerprint. As part of an ID verification requirement from banks where you don't have an account, when you cash a check, they ask for your right thumbprint. Its nothing, no more intrusive or telling about me than a picture or a signature.

DNA tells a lot more about me than anyone has a right to know casually. They know my race, gender, blood type, general health, might even be able to tell you my allergies, I don't know. DNA is literally a piece of you. Its something that they are asking you to turn over for keeping in a database with no way of knowing who has access to it. My personal opinion is that asking for DNA samples without due cause violates the Habeas Corpus statutes in US law. A piece of you is being held without cause. The distinction is that its more than just my imprint upon the world, its a piece of me.

That's the line in the sand I draw.

SeanF
2005-Jan-28, 09:37 PM
On a regular basis, i give out my fingerprint. As part of an ID verification requirement from banks where you don't have an account, when you cash a check, they ask for your right thumbprint. Its nothing, no more intrusive or telling about me than a picture or a signature.
You have to give a thumbprint to cash a check?! :o

If it's no more telling about you than a signature, though, why do they make you give a thumbprint when your signature's already on the check?

That being said, I'll have to acknowledge that I was fingerprinted as part of the INS background check for our international adoption. Would I have as willingly gone along with a DNA sample? I really don't know . . .

Doodler
2005-Jan-28, 10:05 PM
On a regular basis, i give out my fingerprint. As part of an ID verification requirement from banks where you don't have an account, when you cash a check, they ask for your right thumbprint. Its nothing, no more intrusive or telling about me than a picture or a signature.
You have to give a thumbprint to cash a check?! :o

If it's no more telling about you than a signature, though, why do they make you give a thumbprint when your signature's already on the check?


Yeah, its standard procedure in two out of the three banks I cash checks at. Bank of America and Wachovia are both requiring it, along with two forms of ID and your John Hancock.

The idea is to dissuade people from passing bad checks, since they don't require it if you cash against an account you have with them. The idea being, if you pass a bogus check, they've got your fingerprint to start tracking you. Completely understandable reason, in my opinion. If you pass a bad check on an account there, they tag your account for the money plus a penalty.

That's why I don't look at my fingerprint as anything more than a biometric signature.


Added: I suppose they add it as both an initimidation factor and the fact that signatures can be forged with sufficient practice. Especially if you're penmanship with your siggy isn't immediately identifiable as more than squiggles.

beskeptical
2005-Jan-29, 06:25 AM
For those of you who see a database of DNA records in the current limited setting of police identification files, (along with fingerprints and any other name/number identifiers):

What data, other than identity, do you think the police would gain about you from your DNA?

Who would initiate this additional DNA analysis?

Who would pay for this additional DNA analysis?

When the DNA is collected for identification is the DNA kept or only the results, especially considering the data is likely to be stored on electronic media just as fingerprints are being moved to for storage now?

Where would police store any DNA collected for ID purposes only, not collected for evidence, and how do they prevent its disintegration?

Wouldn't they have trouble finding room to store and keep track of extra DNA samples since there is trouble storing DNA evidence already?

I propose they would only be able to use the DNA for identification and all the other supposed information that might be obtained from that DNA is just not something police are ever going to do.

If anyone wanted the kind of information besides ID being discussed here, they would be going to your medical records and maybe body fluids you gave for lab tests, not to police ID files.

The human genome, IE a single person's DNA has billions of lines of code. It has taken years and very large computers to write out the code of one complete person. We are using that information to identify repeating sections of code that correlate with specific gene functions and malfunctions and some genetic tests are now available for a wide variety of conditions. Other discoveries have been made in research labs but have not resulted in commercial tests.

When police or anyone uses your DNA for ID purposes, they only look at a very tiny segment. You 'DNA profile' is not some map of all the potential information contained in your genetic code. It is merely one little section that has no information about you other than if it matches other specimens. They also look separately for gender just as they would look at blood type of a blood specimen. Gender is tested by looking at chromosomes and except for a few disorders that result from chromosome abnormalities, you don't see much else in chromosome analysis.

I don't care if the police have my fingerprints, DNA or SSN. I do care if the FBI sends undercover agents to investigate my political activities or if marketers use my son's school records to market some product to him.

I think it's important to know exactly what it is one is protesting. I don't have a problem with those of the opinion the police or anyone else don't need identifiers until a person is suspected of or convicted of a crime. But for those of you who imagine this DNA has all this biological information about you, the process of DNA analysis for ID just isn't what you seem to think it is.

beskeptical
2005-Jan-29, 06:28 AM
I also gave fingerprints for a concealed weapons permit. My bank has used my thumb print as well. So all prints are not criminal related.

Wally
2005-Jan-31, 03:39 PM
For those of you who see a database of DNA records in the current limited setting of police identification files, (along with fingerprints and any other name/number identifiers):

What data, other than identity, do you think the police would gain about you from your DNA?

Who would initiate this additional DNA analysis?

Who would pay for this additional DNA analysis?



it has nothing to do with any additional info the government might gleam from my DNA, Beskep (at least, not to me). It has to do simply with the fact that the government does not, nor should they have, the right to force a person to give up such an incrimidating identifier of oneself unless he/she is suspected of a particular crime (as has been stated many times by many people on this thread).

To comb a crime scene for all instances of DNA, run that thru a database to obtain names/addresses, then haul those people in for questioning and force them to alibi their way back into a presumption of innocence is not right. [-X

Amadeus
2005-Jan-31, 08:19 PM
I think it all depends on the type of dna evidence. If you've just hovered the place up and got anyones dna thats been in the area then you cannot haul them in.

However if its from blood found on the victim then you certainly have some explaining to do.

This is why I said that DNA evidence should be graded and the details subitted to a judge to get the results. If a policeman said we have about 250 DNA samples of skin cells then the judge should tell them to get lost.

If however it'sa single source thats linked directly to the crime i.e blood then that is high risk evidence and should be traced.

When a crime scene is processed I assume a short of prioritising is done anyway.

[edit]

Q. Would people be more inclined to accept it if it was only used in high proberbility cases where the DNA almost certainly came from the suspect? And it was only used in the most serious crimes.

I know people would say, yeh but what about the future where some goverment decides to impliment an 1984 type totalitarian goverement.
Lets seperate the 2 for a minute. As it stands if you could be guaranteed that it would only be used in these circumstances would you reluctantly agree?

Would you accept this intrusion and I accept that it is an intrusion to live in a society where there is much less violent crime?

pghnative
2005-Jan-31, 10:10 PM
Q. Would people be more inclined to accept it if it was only used in high proberbility cases where the DNA almost certainly came from the suspect? And it was only used in the most serious crimes.
Nope. See previous post. (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=407029&highlight=#407029)



Would you accept this intrusion and I accept that it is an intrusion to live in a society where there is much less violent crime?
There will always be crime in a free society. Give the police more power and the criminals will simply join the police force.

Lurker
2005-Jan-31, 10:31 PM
That's the point that I am trying to make. I have no problem with people choosing to voluntarily give up fingerprints to cash checks or to get certain types of permits. I always have the choice to not cash checks at these establishments or not obtain such a permit. For me the issue is the right of the state or the police to require that I give up any type of information when there is no evidence that I have any involvment in a crime.

I am not required, and I do not feel that I should be required, to turn over information that will eliminate me as a suspect. Under the law there is a presumption of innocence and this presumption is taken away when I must provide evidence proving my innocence.

BobK
2005-Feb-01, 03:18 AM
Someone can correct me if I'm wrong on this part. I believe DNA comparisions are made on the statistical probability of a match.

What happens now is they suspect someone for other reasons and then do a comparison. If the probability is above value X, they figure they have the culprit.

It seems what they think would be ideal, is search through a massive database to find DNA matches above value X. This is not the same thing.

Since it will be easier to punch a few keys and let a program search the database, than it would be to 1st gather evidence and the check the DNA of someone already a suspect, this is what will likely happen.

Assume 1/2 the people in the country are in the database.
Thousands of law enforcement organisations from all states using the database almost daily.
They set parameters for radius from the crime scene and probability "X".

Human nature being what it is, if no match is found they will likely keep increasing the radius until they get a match or matches. If that doesn't work they'll reduce probability "X" until they get a match.
You can't convince me that the system will not be abused in this manner, no matter what rules they put in place. Rules are made because people break them.

It seems to me there will be a very real possibility of false positives, simply due to the vast number of queries made against all people in the database.

Do you want to have to account for where you were 7 weeks ago on tuesday at 7.30 in the evening, simply because of a false positive? I don't. They'll never get it from me with my consent.

If you've already been convicted of a felony, I can understand your DNA being held in a database, otherwise it's an unwarranted intrusion on my privacy.

beskeptical
2005-Feb-01, 10:14 AM
Hi BobK,
You are no more likely to get a false DNA match as you would get a false fingerprint match, which can also happen. Both false positive matches would likely be corrected with closer exam. Real false DNA matches given the small segments matched can give a false positive on the order of 1 in a billion or something like that with the exception of identical twins.

DNA and fingerprints are certainly better than eye witness identifications.

Wally,
there are two arguments going on here. One is should dragnet DNA searches be done and the other is will DNA databases contain 'extra' information some do not want anyone to have. Objecting on the principle of 'only search with cause' is one thing. Objecting because you have a misconception about what DNA is going to reveal is another.

I'm neutral on the 'only search with cause' principle.

Moose
2005-Feb-01, 11:30 AM
I will say, as a coder/analyst and support guy for a medium-to-large student database, that BobK is absolutely right.

Match databases are surprisingly unreliable. Part of this is because of the limited granularity of the search, but most often it's a case of PEBCAK*.

Users simply can't be counted on to do things right. Someone always cuts corners.

An automated job found a rather interesting case yesterday. Apparently someone had been experimenting with the production system. Some student had been enrolled and cancelled a couple of dozen times. Each attempt was botched (had they been legitimate). The script logged a whopping 162 error messages for this student. (I rarely see more than five at a time for a single student.) My team cleaned it up upon discovery, but still...

And we're always getting duplicated IDs 'cause people don't do the searches right (or cut that corner entirely too.)

Mess-ups might not be malicious, but they happen. With stakes as high as they get in some particularly sensitive criminal investigations, you can't afford the potential of tarring and feathering the wrong person, just 'cause some overworked, undertrained technician failed to do his/her job properly.

The obvious answer, perhaps, is more staff and more training, but the real world seldomly does the obvious.

{* Problem Exists Between Chair And Keyboard.}

Bawheid
2005-Feb-01, 11:57 AM
That is my concern with mistakes, not that they won't be corrected, but that in the meantime I will have been named in the media.

Disinfo Agent
2005-Feb-01, 04:05 PM
Objecting because you have a misconception about what DNA is going to reveal is another.
What, exactly, is the misconception?
That my DNA contains more information about me than just my identity? It does!

Amadeus
2005-Feb-01, 04:56 PM
Objecting because you have a misconception about what DNA is going to reveal is another.
What, exactly, is the misconception?
That my DNA contains more information about me than just my identity? It does!

Yes your entire DNA strand contains more information than your identity however the entire Genome is not used when matching strands.

Only a partial strand is matched. To sequence an entire strand takes a very long time.
I'll leave it to others more informed than me to explain what information can be incoded in the section that is tested in police forensics.

Bawheid
2005-Feb-01, 05:00 PM
My understanding is that the entire strand would be collected, and then a small part analysed. The record of the entire strand would be available.

That is like giving someone your medical record so they can check what colour your hair is.

Lurker
2005-Feb-01, 05:55 PM
I'm neutral on the 'only search with cause' principle.

I find this to be the most disturbing comment in the entire discussion so far. While I agree it is far more efficient, and in science even good practice, to start with an entire population and begin to eliminate possibilities, I find it a disturbing concept when blindly applied to the arena of human affairs. I simply do not feel that I have a responsibility to provide proof that I was not involved in any crime that has been committed unless reasonable cause can be shown for me to do so.

beskeptical
2005-Feb-01, 07:10 PM
I'm neutral on the 'only search with cause' principle.

I find this to be the most disturbing comment in the entire discussion so far. While I agree it is far more efficient, and in science even good practice, to start with an entire population and begin to eliminate possibilities, I find it a disturbing concept when blindly applied to the arena of human affairs. I simply do not feel that I have a responsibility to provide proof that I was not involved in any crime that has been committed unless reasonable cause can be shown for me to do so.You're disturbed because I don't share your concern? Me? Like I make the decisions? Do you need me on your team or something? :P

I just don't have an issue with identifying people. I have more important things to worry about like what they attach to that name or ID. We live in a society where we have identities for everything.

beskeptical
2005-Feb-01, 07:19 PM
My understanding is that the entire strand would be collected, and then a small part analyzed. The record of the entire strand would be available.

That is like giving someone your medical record so they can check what colour your hair is.No, your misunderstanding is exactly what I'm talking about. They could store your DNA for future invasion of privacy, but that just isn't likely to ever ever happen. If someone wanted to analyze everyone's DNA they wouldn't be looking for it in police evidence rooms.

All that is analyzed are the segment sizes as they appear on the electrophoresis plate.
The DNA is then treated with specilaized proteins called restriction enzymes, which cleave the DNA into smaller fragments by cutting at specific sites.

Since the minisatellites from any two individuals have different compositions, they are cleaved at different sites, producing fragments of different lengths.

DNA analysis basics (http://www.bergen.org/AAST/Projects/Gel/fingprint2.htm)
Hit continue for page two and a link to the site's home page for more details.

Lurker
2005-Feb-01, 07:27 PM
You're disturbed because I don't share your concern? Me? Like I make the decisions? Do you need me on your team or something? :P


I am disturbed because the right to a presumption of innocence is a rather basic human rights issue. I find it worrisome when it takes a backseat to other issues. I meantioned your comment because it seemed to represent the lack of discussion on this thread of that aspect of the issue.

As to your other comments, I find them unworthy of comment and unworthy of your normally respectful attitude.

beskeptical
2005-Feb-01, 07:54 PM
You're disturbed because I don't share your concern? Me? Like I make the decisions? Do you need me on your team or something? :P


I am disturbed because the right to a presumption of innocence is a rather basic human rights issue. I find it worrisome when it takes a backseat to other issues. I meantioned your comment because it seemed to represent the lack of discussion on this thread of that aspect of the issue.

As to your other comments, I find them unworthy of comment and unworthy of your normally respectful attitude.So my :P smilely didn't lighten my comments up enough for you? Sorry. I wasn't trying to offend you.

The presumption of innocence is relative. If the police searched existing databases vs generating a new database to search would that be different? Suppose you are fingerprinted for some lawful reason such as to carry a concealed weapon. Your prints get put into the fingerprint computer database of the FBI and prints are searched for when recovered from any crime scene.

No one wants the police to search one's house at random. But a database of prints or DNA? I'm not going to expend energy fighting that. A request to give some DNA for a database? Well, I wouldn't give up any free time to go to the PD for that but I wouldn't care if they came to my door and asked me to put a Q-tip in my mouth.

I understand what your concerns are and I certainly agree with them. I just draw the line in a different place.