News 02.05.07

U.S. to vastly expand DNA database

Congress passed a little-noticed amendment in January that permits the federal government to collect DNA samples from anyone arrested by federal authorities, the New York Times reported today.

Innocence Project Co-Director Peter Neufeld said the government is reaching too far.

“Whereas fingerprints merely identify the person who left them,” Mr. Neufeld said, “DNA profiles have the potential to reveal our physical diseases and mental disorders. It becomes intrusive when the government begins to mine our most intimate matters.”

As many as 1 million additional DNA samples could be sent to the FBI lab under this law. Officials said they weren't certain how the lab would handle the increase in work, which currently receives 96,000 samples a year and has a backlog of 150,000 samples from convicted people waiting to be processed.


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