U.S. Feds To Collect DNA From Every Arrestee And Detained Foreigner

Posted on Thursday, April 17 at 06:57 by C.M. Burns

By EILEEN SULLIVAN, Associated Press Writer
Wed Apr 16, 7:39 PM ET
Yahoo News

WASHINGTON - The government plans to begin collecting DNA samples from anyone arrested by a federal law enforcement agency — a move intended to prevent violent crime but which also is raising concerns about the privacy of innocent people.

Using authority granted by Congress, the government also plans to collect DNA samples from foreigners who are detained, whether they have been charged or not. The DNA would be collected through a cheek swab, Justice Department spokesman Erik Ablin said Wednesday. That would be a departure from current practice, which limits DNA collection to convicted felons.

Expanding the DNA database, known as CODIS, raises civil liberties questions about the potential for misuse of such personal information, such as family ties and genetic conditions.

Ablin said the DNA collection would be subject to the same privacy laws applied to current DNA sampling. That means none of it would be used for identifying genetic traits, diseases or disorders.

Congress gave the Justice Department the authority to expand DNA collection in two different laws passed in 2005 and 2006.

There are dozens of federal law enforcement agencies, ranging from the FBI to the Library of Congress Police. The federal government estimates it makes about 140,000 arrests each year.

Justice officials estimate the new collecting requirements would add DNA from an additional 1.2 million people to the database each year.

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U.S. to collect DNA from anyone arrested by a federal law enforcement agency

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