News 07.19.13

Science News

A task force in Oregon looks to collect Touch DNA from weapons, Prison Legal News provides an overview of forensic science failings nationwide, and DNA databases around the world may not be as secure as once thought. Here is the round up of news for the week:
An Oregon gun task force wants to team up with a DNA testing company to determine the possibility of

identifying DNA from skin cells, sweat or oil glands left behind on weapons confiscated by police

.  Currently, law enforcement has a difficult time proving who possessed a gun, especially since fingerprints cannot be reliably collected from the textured surface of a gun.
In a sweeping investigation of the forensic sciences,

Prison Legal News

discusses problems at crime labs across the country and explains the challenges facing forensic scientists and policymakers alike.  Suggested improvements include providing adequate oversight, both within the lab and at the national level, and the validation of forensic techniques through sound scientific research. 

According to the Washington Post

, countries around the world are weighing the ability of DNA databases to solve crime while questioning the threat of unwarranted genetic surveillance.  To explain how our identities may not be as safe in DNA databases as we think, a research professor from MIT describes how he can identify individuals and their families using a computer algorithm, a genetic genealogy website and public information found on internet searches.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released a new publication

that touts new biometric techniques such as iris images and on-card fingerprint images to increase security.  NIST explains that this biometric information can be easily stored on Personal Identification Verification (PIV) cards that correspond to specific individuals.
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