Government databases for all citizen DNA? No thanks | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


Government databases for all citizen DNA? No thanks

Since the advent of DNA testing in the ’80s, the tool has been hailed a silver bullet for crime-solving, with many arguing that governments must collect our genetic code as standard – but such proposals are riddled with problems.

When a woman gave birth to a baby boy at an Arizona nursing facility earlier this year, despite being in a coma for a decade, the debate surrounding DNA databases was reignited. Attempting to solve the crime, police compared the baby's DNA with that of male employees at the health facility. It was a harrowing case, but that’s the thing: It always is a disturbing and chilling event that precipitates calls for us to grant more sweeping surveillance powers to governments and encourage us to give up more of our privacy in pursuit of our safety.

Sure enough, the Arizona case prompted a state lawmaker to propose a bill which would have required large swathes of people “from parent school volunteers and teachers to real estate agents and foster parents” to give up their DNA, by law. The bill was watered down to require DNA “only from professionals who care for patients with intellectual disabilities in an intermediate care facility” – and then altered again to focus specifically on testing samples obtained via rape kits.

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