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ACLU alarmed that US govt. may begin collecting DNA of all suspects, even if innocent

Mike Sheehan
Published: Monday February 5, 2007
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The American Civil Liberties Union is expressing its alarm that the U.S. government may begin collecting the DNA of all suspects, even if innocent.

In a press release, the ACLU "criticized the Justice Department's move to collect DNA samples of individuals who are arrested or detained by federal authorities even if they are not convicted, or charged with a crime."

An amendment authorizing that collection was authored by Sens. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and John Cornyn (R-TX), to be attached to the Violence Against Women Act.

"Wholesale DNA collection violates basic American values about our right to privacy," an ACLU director, Caroline Frederickson, is quoted as saying in the release. "DNA is far more than a simple fingerprint. DNA testing reveals medical information about individuals and their families and the practice of keeping these samples permanently is an open invitation to data mining."

Frederickson says that "the huge backlog of rape kits waiting to be tested will continue to grow as the government collects DNA from hundreds of thousands or even millions of individuals arrested or detained.

"This includes those who are never actually charged with a crime and those who are charged and found innocent," she charges.

The full press release can be found at this link, while an ACLU letter on the Kyl-Cornyn Amendment is available at this link.