Thursday, March 19, 2009

For a Fistful of DNA

It's just over two weeks until the DNA Rape Bill submissions close, where the state can forcefully take DNA off arrestees, and I'm still gathering my thoughts.

On one hand there's today's story of Sean Hodgson, the man who was jailed for almost 30 years before DNA profiling cleared him. On the other, there's the very real risks of function creep, institutionalised racism and eugenics, as this article in Slate concludes:
Neither the United States nor the United Kingdom have any models for the kind of comprehensive privacy regulations that would prevent the government from sharing DNA profiles in law enforcement databases with insurance companies, employers, schools, and the private sector. For this reason, while a perfectly regulated universal database may be conceivable in theory, it's nearly impossible to imagine in practice. And a universal database that can be consulted for any crime, serious or trivial, is one that many citizens would resist. It opens us to a world in which, based on the seemingly infallible evidence of DNA, people can be framed or tracked, by their enemies or by the government, in ways that liberal societies have traditionally found unacceptable.
And now Ivan Dobsky, the Meat Safe Murderer who never done it: