Overnight Open Thread | Main | Top Headline Comments 3-12-10
March 12, 2010

Obama wants DNA samples from everyone arrested

Big Brother
Big Brother pic
Wants Your DNA
Not charged, not convicted, just arrested.

Of course anyone could be arrested for anything at anytime and held for 24 hours then simply released. Theoretically, they could systematically roll through the whole population doing that.

Will the police be interested in doing this? Probably not. If Obama were to push this, and get it into law, the police would likely view it as an unfunded federal mandate. The bureaucratic and lab infrastructure needed to implement such a scheme pervasively would be truly massive. The 2006 FBI UCR says that over 14,000,000 arrests of all sorts happened in the USA that year (not counting traffic violations). That's over 38,000 arrests/day on average.

Clearly, the lab capacity to handle that number of DNA samples daily and physically process them is non-trivial. Of course, for those samples to have any future legal value, everything would have to be handled with rigid chain of custody procedures, and original physical samples warehoused under lock and key.

Impact on things like witness protection programs and such is plainly a concern as well. A host of privacy and potential abuse issues are so obvious they don't even need mention.

A thought exercise: Imagine if a Republican president had proposed this?

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posted by Purp at 12:13 AM

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