> To illustrate the point, he selected a sample from a 52-year-old Bensalem resident who had been pulled over the previous day for running a red light.
They're doing DNA matching against people pulled over for misdemeanors (speeding and an outstanding warrant for "retail theft"). And this is apparently now being connected to a national database.
> To collect DNA, police in Pennsylvania must obtain consent from people under arrest. Ninety percent of those asked say yes […] Asked why so many people would consent to give DNA, he said: “I have no idea. But criminals do stupid things.”
I know why. It's because you've got someone in a position of power asking those they have power over for something they don't really understand. People will say yes because they hope that agreeing to the demands of their captors means they'll be treated better.
> “We’ll say, ‘Listen, we’ve had stuff in the area. Would you mind giving us consent to take your DNA, so we can rule you out for committing any crimes?’”
The way they're phrasing this makes it even worse. They're clearly not explaining what this actually means, they're pretending like this is to help the suspect, and the suspect probably has no idea that this is being compared to a large database of crime samples.
This is the exact same argument made against the right to privacy.
It is usually easy to obtain DNA from a specific person and put it at the crime scene.
I'm sure Mr Harran's DNA won't be found in any database.
CCC members has obtained fingerprints from politicians, for example. DNA is no harder.
Or don't target a specific person, but place random hair found in a public toilet.
I personally probably wouldn't submit my DNA without a particular reason, but I don't see what's the contradiction here?
The confusion felt by some in this sub-thread is the analogy between 'having nothing to hide' and 'having a pub webcam in your shower'.
I don't see the connection either.
But this is exactly what they are doing? It is an accurate description. Of course they keep it for future crimes too.
It's akin to when police ask, "Do you know why I pulled you over?" The question is open-ended and if the driver admits to any other wrong-doing, other than the reason for the stop, that's now introduces reasonable suspicion (by the act of admission) to other crimes.
Is it illegal? Technically, no. (Unless you go down the entrapment road.) Is it morally wrong? I think most people would agree that it is because the consequences aren't told the individual. (The informed consent argument.)
And yet we still don’t get a national id. This is the worst of all worlds outcome.
Also, consider how DNA evidence is used. If you've got a 1-in-a-million chance of being matched, the hash might find you as a suspect for a crime. Then, during the trial, the prosecutor will tell the jury there's a 1-in-a-million chance they got the wrong person since the DNA matched. Never mind that the DNA is no longer statistically independent evidence (they used it to find you, of course it matches). If this approach is successfully challenged because it's not independent evidence, then, the standard practice will bring in "parallel construction" techniques. Once you're identified, prosecutors will use other evidence that doesn't have to meet "beyond a reasonable doubt" as the official reason they found you. Then, they'll use DNA in the trial as if it were independent evidence.
Once a majority of our citizens are sampled,
[...] the public won't see the harm in
mandating collection for everyone.
According to  the Golden State Killer was found by matching a relative in a public DNA database. Although obviously if the DNA match says 'sibling' or 'parent' there are fewer suspects to comb through than if the match says 'third cousin'.
Yeah, the 1-in-a-million number isn't quite right, but there are other reasons why DNA evidence isn't perfect. Twins and chimeras for a start. And then you go on to washing machines, which are great for spreading DNA from multiple sources all over lots of things that tend to get analysed in a forensics lab.
How is an investigator asserting that they found the trace DNA from hair or saliva they are presenting as evidence at the crime scene any different from any other assertion?
While these are exceptions, horrible abuses have already been committed by lying forensic specialists. In Canada, we had a forensic lab fabricate drug use evidence against mothers, who ended up losing their children. http://projects.thestar.com/motherisk/ , similarly, a pathologist was charged for fabricating evidence as well, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Smith_(pathologist) .
These are low likelihood scenarios, but with an extreme impact that has consequences for the integrity of the system. These are in recent memory, and only examples who were caught.
> Unlike DNA labs, Rapid DNA machines do not have rigorous protocols governing the handling of samples.
> “There really are no actual rules written anywhere,” Detective Vandegrift said.
> With a few clicks, Detective Vandegrift uploaded it to the county database.
> In contrast, county DNA databases are unregulated. In Bucks County, the DNA database has begun to include genetic material from people whom police consider “even just a suspicious subject,” Detective Vandegrift said. Mr. Harran called such cases “one of the greatest uses of this instrument.”
Instead of a movie about changing your grades, now it will be changing a DNA file and getting them convicted of a crime.
Someone should sell them on the idea that they can use SNP to generate an approximate photofit
But one thing strikes me as REALLY worrying: they call it the "MAGIC" box.
IMO, if there is ONE thing that you DO NOT WANT in serious such matters, it is the propagation of the -common- belief that science/technology == MAGIC.
This is already a problem with computers, as people accept plenty of nonsense "because the computer said so", and to be fair technologies like computers have become so complex, it's difficult to NOT have a "magic" feeling to some extent (let's not get into sciences which are IMO even worse).
Relying blindly on something that you don't really understand (its limits, its strengths & weaknesses, the context in which it should be used), is a RECIPE FOR DISASTER.
The problem with most people is that they agree with that notion and never second-guess it. ...but anyone who's ever modified anything in code or a database or the like will know that to not be the case.
Considering it "magic" also proves the following posit: The result of the use of that technology is potentially as faulty as the operator whom doesn't understand it.
Case in point: "Tides go in, tides go out. You can't explain that."
I have no issue with collecting DNA from those convicted and sentence of a major crime. I do have serious issues with collecting from people for traffic stops or similar. If anything I think it should be unlawful to ask for such consent without a representation present and it should in no means be considered probably cause to arrest or detain if consent is not given. Simply put the general public is not versed enough in the law to give a good response.
I could see a system whereby you give a one time use consent to clear you of suspicion, requiring the authorities to destroy the sample and record after it fails to match. Even then I would suggest a court order being required to force anyone to provide a sample and not providing a sample does not give them probable cause or the like.
The sad part is far too many are willing to hand over much of their life and responsibilities to government in return for free stuff and are willing to see you are forced to give up the same. be wary of any politician who tries to frame this as moral duty or requirement because some will
While the justice sysem still has gross lapses, I do mind - for the most part. A guy who gets released after 20 years, because he was proven innocent, is still going to be in the database.
There are no protections for the accused in that scenario. So, let's assume that the manufacturing of a specific genome sequence becomes much easier and much cheaper. What's to prevent a police office, with a justice boner and who infallibly believes that the guy is guilty - despite evidence to the contrary, from abusing the information and "discovering" this individual's DNA at another crime scene?
While it might seem like a far-fetched idea, there's been a history (though it may be seldom) of people abusing the "solid science" position to frame people.
There's another comment in this thread that demonstrates that this is not only plausible but it has happened.
 - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18997702
...and there it is: The rationale that anything is worthwhile, as long as they're catching the bad guys.
Nevermind that "being suspicious" is warrant enough to get you dropped into a database, for life - which is something they don't explain, when they're using the "we just want to rule you out" narrative.
I guess when you're on the side of the blue line that is protected from the excesses of law enforcement you forget about what the threat it poses to the rest of us.
Vincent: Well, what about the interview?
Dr. Lamar: That was it.
They only needed authentication. Or can be the same today except no DNA check, just papers...
Preferably not collect the data and not store it at all unless aforementioned.
There were other guys at the halfway house who didn't have to wear one, and they were continually tempted to be places they shouldn't have. Too boot, they couldn't easily prove their innocence when they were falsely accused of being somewhere they weren't. I never once had that problem or temptation and cakewalked my stay there.
As long as the nation doesn't turn into a democratic socialist PRC, this technology will benefit people who are law abiding, even if a person doesn't have a record in some DNA database.
Unique identity markers aren't the property of an individual.
The way "DNA matches" occur in the judicial system is by looking at a set of SNPs, not whole genome comparisons (obviously).
This is how you frame someone.
1) Take the SNP set the cops use, which is published.
2) Make synthetic oligos that match the SNP set with SNPs from the person you want to frame.
3) Sprinkle the oligo collection at the crime scene
4) Guess what shows up in the PCR