Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

Proposed expansion of DNA testing in Virginia

By haus in News
Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 04:11:45 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)

According to the Washington Post it appears that there is currently a push in the state of Virginia to expand DNA testing beyond convicted criminals to those who have simply been arrested. If this comes to be, Virginia will be the first state in the nation to collect mandatory DNA samples, prior to conviction.

My favorite statement in the article sums up the mindset nicely, "A lot of people who are arrested are guilty as sin and never get convicted," said House Speaker S. Vance Wilkins Jr. (R-Amherst). With a government like this, who needs a scary "evil empire"?


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


DNA Testing should be mandatory for:
o Everyone 2%
o Everyone else 5%
o Convicted criminals 9%
o Anyone who is arrested 5%
o Members of the Military 4%
o Politicians 23%
o Anyone who checks out a book from a library 0%
o Hey, Politicians and Criminals? That's redundant! 47%

Votes: 71
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Washington Post
o article
o Also by haus

Display: Sort:
Proposed expansion of DNA testing in Virginia | 45 comments (42 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
Been talked about a lot here in the UK (3.00 / 1) (#1)
by BobaFatt on Sun Aug 19, 2001 at 07:30:37 PM EST

See this article from the BBC, dated 1999
The Management apologise for any convenience caused.
File maintenance (none / 0) (#15)
by haus on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 11:51:31 AM EST

According to the article that you refrenced, the law currently stands, that if the person who is arrested is not convicted, they cannot keep the DNA sample.

I wonder how good they are at getting rid of the samples for those who are not convicted?

"I mean, who wants to be the @&^%$K! goddess of macrame?"
[ Parent ]
DNA evidence and databases (4.75 / 4) (#3)
by Nyarlathotep on Sun Aug 19, 2001 at 08:22:53 PM EST

Actually, we can allow the government to have DNA databases without *necissarily* reducing out freedom, but we need to remember one simple fact:

If a test has false positives 1 time out of a billion and you use that test to make a database with 1 million names and use that database for 10,000 cases per year you average 10 false positives per year. Retesting the DNA will not help since the false positives will frequently be repeated, i.e. they are due to properties of the test or the person.

The solution is simple too:

Let the government do DNA and fingerprint database searches, but disqualify *any* evidence use as a search criteria from trial. The cops will need to choose between "Search and loose the evidence, but possible find a suspect and more evidence" or "find a suspect directly and have powerful DNA evidence." The cops will only use the DNA database when they were really suspectless if we had this kind of restriction.

Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
Test failure rate (4.50 / 2) (#5)
by sigwinch on Sun Aug 19, 2001 at 09:52:14 PM EST

Retesting the DNA will not help since the false positives will frequently be repeated, i.e. they are due to properties of the test or the person.
It won't help today. However, there is very good reason to believe that DNA sequencers will become vastly more powerful in the future, at which point the samples can simply be reanalyzed with ultra-high accuracy in a short period of time. (By 'ultra-high accuracy', I mean the sequencing of every nuclear and mitochondrial base pair from multiple cells.) There are no fundamental physical limits to the technology -- it's just a matter of find clever ways to interact with DNA molecules.

I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

Questionable (none / 0) (#9)
by Weezul on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 05:12:32 AM EST

Would you really be seeing flase positives in the first place if that were the case? I think *any* test will have some false positive aspects which are reproducible and some which are not. It would seem likely that any test would loose a significant precentage of it's reliability when being used on the result of a database search.

Now, remeber that courts and jurys work with "precieved" reliability, so using evidence which everyone thinks is nearly infalable can be a bad idea even when there is only a 1% chance that the evidence is wrong. The defense *should* be able to get evidence disqualified or adjusted when it's miss leading and the police should know that using database searchs can make evidence miss leading.

Yes, a flat rule that we disqualify all evidence used in a database search which locates the suspect could be a little excessive, but it would make things simply and protect the innocent from stupid public defenders (who trust the prosicution's multiplication).

"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini
[ Parent ]
DNA tests limited by small data size (none / 0) (#14)
by topham on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 11:42:38 AM EST

DNA tests performed were chosen based on the high-variability over the general population while being a small enough dataset to perform a resonable comparison by hand. (As well as perform the test themselves which are tedious).

The small data-set is what creates false positives. Your cousin could match yours exactly. Even though the statistical expectation might be 1 in 10 billion you could have a relative who matches.

Or, truth be told, a complete stranger.

With a larger data-set is is conceivable that even identical twins could be told apart. (There has been some evidence to suggest that many identical twins are not identical at the DNA level, but rather have slight differences. Potentially enough that the differences were rejected during cell-division but still resulted in a viable DNA set)

This assumes that no errors would be introduced by the test process itself. Obvious this is a false assumption but the truth is, a screwed up DNA test results is useless data most of the time. (based on documentaries on DNA testing I have seen).

[ Parent ]

Not in America (4.50 / 2) (#11)
by ryancooley on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 05:57:28 AM EST

You have no idea how often cops get their hands on sealed records through a friend, etc. What is to stop them from doing a secret DNA lookup, gathering evidence against the person, then getting a warrant for a DNA comparison? Nothing I can think of. Your idea really goes against the whole legal system. Inevitable discovery is used when evidence is gathered illegially, but more evidence has been discovered later that would have led to the legal discovery of the same evidence, so the illegial begotten evidence is allowed in. This would really hurt your idea as the police could do a DNA check of the database, then use it as evidence because they 'would have discovered that' later on.

Not that I support inevitable discovery, it really is an end run around unwaranted police seisure, but that's a different arguement all together.

[ Parent ]
illegal Police search (3.50 / 2) (#13)
by topham on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 11:30:04 AM EST

The solution to most illegal searches performed by the police is not to throw out evidence. (This creates a situation where the defence wants the evidence thrown out when it is a) valid evidence, b) OBVIOUSLY proves guilt.) The solution? Charge the individuals involved. Let them be docked pay, time, benefits, etc.

After this occures repeatedly the individual should lose their job.

This will substantially reduce illegal searches.

[ Parent ]

The reason... (none / 0) (#24)
by PhillipW on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 04:45:39 PM EST

...behind throwing out illegally acquired evidence is to prevent cops from using illegal methods to get the evidence. If the evidence were not thrown out due to the use of illegal methods to acquire it, then what would stop police from barging into a home without a warrant? The answer to this being "Nothing."

[ Parent ]
Easy Way to Stop 'Em (3.00 / 1) (#26)
by Robert Uhl on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 05:48:44 PM EST

What if the punishment for illegally gathering evidence is death? This is appropriate, since to illegally gather evidence is to violate one's natural rights and to misuse the deadly power of the State. It'd make cops think twice before breaking the law. It'd also mean that criminals could still be convicted based on that evidence, which is a Good Thing if the evidence is truthful.

[ Parent ]
easy solutions have interesting complications (4.00 / 2) (#28)
by eudas on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 06:17:20 PM EST

What if the punishment for illegally gathering evidence is sharing the accused's fate? eudas
"We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat
[ Parent ]
HTML formatting (none / 0) (#29)
by eudas on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 06:18:20 PM EST

HTML formatting messed up my mesg above. ^#&*@!

"We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat
[ Parent ]
No, you need to throw out evidence (none / 0) (#42)
by Nyarlathotep on Tue Aug 21, 2001 at 03:14:12 PM EST

The judge needs the power to throw out evidence. My claim that you should throw out all evidence used in database searches to objtain suspects is a perfect example of why you should throw out evidence. The results of the database search are *inherently* miss-leading and confuse the jury. Specifically, the jury thinks that DNA evidence is nearly perfect, but if you search 100 million individuals that evidence sucks ass. The procicution will happily use this evidence to convince the jurry that the guy is guilty when he has no real evidence.

Judges throw out evidence to protect the innocent *and* to keep the police in line. These are normally the same thing with respect to throwing out evidence. Who cares if a guilty person occasionally falls under the criteria for throwing out evidence?

Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
[ Parent ]
YOu overlook something VERY important (none / 0) (#44)
by ryancooley on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 05:14:12 AM EST

While this is a bit off-topic, I think it should be addressed since it is a spin-off of this topic anyhow.

As American citizens, we have a GOD GIVEN RIGHT to not be subject to unreasonable searches and seisures. Evidence gathered illegially violates this basic right, and nothing but discarding the evidence can remedy the constitutional crisis such a situation causes.

Inevitable discovery is a very bad thing. It does not prevent unreasonable searches and seisures (the evidences was found before cause was given, making the SEARCH unjustifed) and even if you overlook that, ANYTHING could happen to the evidence between the time of the unreasonable seisure, and the time when they have evidence to justify it (therefore qualifying as an unjustified SEISURE).

Under the terms of inevitable discovery, law enforcement could conduct an unwarranted search which reveals a gun you were on your way to flush down the toilet. Law enforcement could then find evidence (ballistics, DNA, et al) months later, that would then justify a warrant for the previous search.

I agree that police should be taught the basics of our legal system so that they will recogonize borderline-legal tactics on their part, and know what they need to do to make their actions withstand legal poking and proding. But until they are required to know the minor details of the law, you obviously can't even consider punishing them for something (they can reasonably claim) they didn't know.

[ Parent ]
Inevitable discovery (5.00 / 2) (#25)
by krlynch on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 05:00:52 PM EST

Inevitable discovery is used when evidence is gathered illegially, but more evidence has been discovered later that would have led to the legal discovery of the same evidence, so the illegial begotten evidence is allowed in.

As stated, this is not completely correct, although you may be aware of the details you left out and just left them out to make the post more focussed. It is generally (in my understanding, not being a lawyer and all) very difficult to argue inevitable discovery before a judge because: a) you must have obtained evidence that is developed completely independently of the tainted evidence; that is, the untainted evidence can not have been obtained from the tainted evidence in any direct or indirect manner, otherwise the "untainted" evidence becomes tainted by association (kindof like perl code.... :-), and b) that new evidence has to point directly and unequivocally to the evidence that was thrown out and c) the evidence that was thrown out could have been legally obtained.

In other words, if evidence is thrown out because it was obtained illegally, then to get it back in, you have to prove that there was (effectively) no way that you would have missed it after coming across this other evidence that you found, that the other evidence you found was in NO WAY suggested by the evidence that was thrown out, and the illegally obtained evidence could have been obtained legally. And if the judge disagrees with you, the NEW evidence is now tainted and gets thrown out as well. This is an INCREDIBLY difficult legal hurdle to overcome, and most prosecutors will stay away from it when they are trying to make a case.

[ Parent ]

I'd say this one counts... (none / 0) (#7)
by jackdoe on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 04:00:09 AM EST

...as scarily authoritarian.

No... (none / 0) (#31)
by emmons on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 11:30:33 PM EST

Having your picture taken when you're arrested is scarily authoritarian. DNA is just an extension of that. Just think of what they might do next... maybe a national database of fingerprints, all of which were stolen off the fingers of perfectly innocent USians. Because, once they have your fingerprints, you're screwed.

Unless you haven't done anything illegal. Then it doesn't much matter.

In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
-Douglas Adams

[ Parent ]
What about Photos? (5.00 / 2) (#8)
by Tachys on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 04:42:54 AM EST

I thing I have noticed is that the police always take peoples picture when they are arrested.

Does the police keep those pictures on file?

yes (none / 0) (#10)
by ryancooley on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 05:50:28 AM EST

[ Parent ]
okay... (4.00 / 2) (#12)
by chopper on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 09:31:24 AM EST

...so how is this really that different from fingerprinting? the cops get the prints of everyone who is arrested as well.

yeah, DNA can provide a really good match, but so can prints. and not every crime scene is chock full o' criminal DNA. then again, some people don't leave many fingerprints either...

give a man a fish,he'll eat for a day

give a man religion and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish

Yes, there is a difference! (4.75 / 4) (#17)
by haus on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 12:24:55 PM EST

Fingerprints and photos are very different from DNA. At the moment we are fortunately not at the point where we can fully exploit the more sinister possibilities. But this is the time that we need to consider some of these possibilities and determine how to address them.

For instance, lets say that our fictional character Bob gets arrested for suspicion of Burglary. Fortunately for Bob, it turns out that the problem was merely a case of bad luck and mistaken identity, so he is let go with only the better part of a day taken away from him, and the embarrassment of having been photographed for a mug shot, fingerprinted, and swabbed for a DNA sample. Bob heads home, thinking that his ordeal is over, but for Bob the fun has just begun. Bob's DNA sample is now a part of public record, and just like your mailing address and photo from your DMV records that the state of Virginia sells to make a few extra bucks, it is available for a minor processing fee. And sure enough, Big Evil Insurance Co, is more than happy to bay the processing fee to take a look at a few key markers in Bob's DNA sample. You see BEIC lab geeks have told them that people with certain DNA traits are more likely to develop cancer, which in turn causes on to have a risk for higher than average medical bills, and possibly a premature death. Little does Bob know that he indeed has these markings, but BEIC knows and they decide to cut his health and life insurance because Bob is a high risk.

"I mean, who wants to be the @&^%$K! goddess of macrame?"
[ Parent ]
Who guards the guardians? (5.00 / 1) (#18)
by aphrael on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 12:44:45 PM EST

Bob's DNA sample is now a part of public record, and just like your mailing address and photo from your DMV records that the state of Virginia sells to make a few extra bucks, it is available for a minor processing fee.

Is this a problem with the collecting of the information, or the selling of it for a minor processing fee?

This raises a broader question, though, about government collection of data. In general, in a democracy, any information the government has should be freely available to everyone who is a citizen of that democracy. But when you personal information the government is collecting about its citizens, the question gets dicier --- because those citizens may not want the information available to everyone, and yet they (presumably, if the measure authorizing it passed the legislature and was not subject to a referendum in the states that allow it) want the government to have the information. Yet, at the same time, there's a problem: once you allow the government to start keeping some information secret from its citizens, you on some level lose the ability to tell what it's keeping secret --- and, for that matter, who they are giving the information to behind your back.

In general, the solutions to this problem are not well understood in either political theory or in ongoing political practice. Science fiction author David Brin wrote a book several years ago in which he posited that the only solution was to allow *everything* to be completely public, but many people find that unpalatable; other solutions have yet to be uncovered that don't leave you with the same who-guards-the-guardians quandary.

[ Parent ]

Even simpler (none / 0) (#19)
by haus on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 12:59:49 PM EST

This is not a problem with the government charging a fee for the information. It is them having data that they have NO RIGHT to in the first place.

You have no need to know my DNA makeup; neither does the government or my insurance company, nor anyone else that I do not chose to provide that information to.

"I mean, who wants to be the @&^%$K! goddess of macrame?"
[ Parent ]
I do wish people would learn about these things... (5.00 / 5) (#20)
by Hizonner on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 01:35:46 PM EST

... before they run their mouths.

Ignoring the fact that fingerprints and photos are just as subject to abuse, and just as salable, as DNA information, there's the little fact that all these state DNA databases store only RFLP maps, which are not the least bit useful for things like predicting your future health. Yes, they could reanalyze the original samples and get other information, but that's not what they're putting in the databases.

Details: RFLP stands for Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism, and is often referred to in the popular press as "DNA fingerprinting". Basically, to do RFLP, you mix the DNA sample with a bunch of enzymes, called "restriction enzymes", which chop it up into pieces. Where the enzymes will cut depends on the DNA sequence. Once you've cut it up, you separate the fragments and determine the size of each. The overall list of fragment sizes is more or less individual, and that's what you store in the database.

Obviously, the fragment size list only gives you information about those DNA sites that the enzymes care about. The enzymes are chosen for technical and ease-of-reading reasons. They are not chosen for the purpose of extracting any useful information other than as individual as possible a map. I doubt that many, if any, of the sites they attack are of significant clinical interest. I am not an expert, but I speculate that most of the sites are probably in the middle of "junk DNA" that doesn't even code for proteins; that would seem to be the place to look for large polymorphisms, since such DNA is free to mutate with minimal impact on the organism.

Even if one of the restriction sites were somehow "interesting", it would presumably take a certain amount of processing to retrieve the information for one site from somebody's RFLP map. Not only that, but I understand that the companies that make the kits consider the restrictions sites to be trade secrets, so you wouldn't know about it even if one of them were "interesting".

None of which means I like DNA data banks, by the way. I think they suck.

[ Parent ]

Just because I am paranoid... (5.00 / 1) (#21)
by haus on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 02:08:18 PM EST

does not mean they are not out to get me. 8)

I am not prepared to believe that my information is safe, because at this moment in time the testing is not geared to deduce clinical information. Because changing these practices would be trivial.

And the defense that the information is considered a company trade secret is even weaker. Bio companies are just a susceptible to market pressures as other companies. And there is a long list of companies that have access to information gathered on one premise, but used for another when dollar signs become apparent. A far from complete list includes GM with there on board computers [for such things as the ON Star system] providing information to make your driving experience more enjoyable, now sell readers to police departments that will provide them with a profile of your driving immediately prior to a accident. Or on a less dramatic note, I am sure that many people hear have done business with some dot bomb who as a dying breath gave their stock pilled `customer list' to swarms of spam artist to help pay the last electric bill.

"I mean, who wants to be the @&^%$K! goddess of macrame?"
[ Parent ]
Worse... (none / 0) (#32)
by jackdoe on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 11:33:20 PM EST

...this gives the state govt an incentive to arrest more people, to increase the size and value of that database!

There had better be very strict procedures for how that info can be used and when it must be discarded.

[ Parent ]

I would think (none / 0) (#16)
by l0gichunt3r on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 11:52:47 AM EST

that politicians of all people would not want to have their DNA on file since most of them are 'guilty as sin and never convicted'. I will refrain from any Kennedy jokes.

Politicians? (none / 0) (#30)
by Kasreyn on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 10:02:07 PM EST

Who said anything about politicians being on file? =P

<sigh> You're obviously not on the level of true Machiavellianism, yet, if you didn't see that one coming.


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
Look at the poll. (none / 0) (#34)
by greenrd on Tue Aug 21, 2001 at 06:59:40 AM EST

The poll.
"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]
Your missing the point... (1.50 / 2) (#22)
by IriseLenoir on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 03:19:02 PM EST

The U.S. is the "scary evil empire"!!!
"liberty is the mother of order, not its daughter" - Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
You're ALL missing the point (5.00 / 4) (#23)
by Tatarigami on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 04:30:29 PM EST

Clinical studies on incarcerated criminals have shown that an incredible 100% of the statistical sample had traces of DNA in their blood. And there's anecdotal evidence to support the theory that every crime in history was committed by a DNA-user.

I'm sure our leaders are aware of these appalling facts and this database is the first step in the long-overdue campaign to ban this dangerous chemical.

Even worse; (none / 0) (#36)
by simon farnz on Tue Aug 21, 2001 at 07:44:07 AM EST

100% of all deaths involve a living creature.

Ban life and living!
If guns are outlawed, only outlaws have guns
[ Parent ]

Anyone read old Judge Dredd comics? (none / 0) (#43)
by Tatarigami on Tue Aug 21, 2001 at 04:24:58 PM EST

Judge Death: "We realissssed that all crimes are committed by the living... ssssssso life itsssself wassss made a crime... Now I have come to judge your world."

I just about had to change my pants after reading that as a seven-year old. I'd hate to be put in that same position again.

[ Parent ]
Damn (5.00 / 1) (#27)
by jayhawk88 on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 05:53:44 PM EST

There just isn't anything you can't do nowadays if you promise to be "tough on crime". Granted, these are attorney generals talking about this, but still, where's the American Public's "line"?

It's times like this I wish I was a billionaire. I'd run for President in 2004, on the platform that every American should be fingerprinted at birth, have their Social Security Number tatooed on their left arm, and have GPS tracking units installed in their butt. They would also be required to check in with local police authorities every week, and be able to give a detailed listing of their daily activities and movements on demand.

I'd justify my position at every opportunity by claiming that all I was concerned about was eliminating crime in our country, and making the streets safe for "honest, hard working Americans". After all, only criminals, or those thinking about committing a crime, could possibly have a problem with this! What do honest, law-abiding, hard working Americans have to hide?

I figure I'd either be a slap in the face to America about the dwindling individual rights in this country, or get elected.

Why, then, should we grant government the Orwellian capability to listen at will and in real time to our communications across the Web? -- John Ashcroft
Sadly... (5.00 / 1) (#40)
by roboticlod on Tue Aug 21, 2001 at 11:02:36 AM EST

You would probably win.

------------ Hell, I might not even agree with what I say. Sometimes I just like to get ideas out there; to explore them, and to help me figure out what I believe.
[ Parent ]
Subtler problem (3.00 / 1) (#33)
by jackdoe on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 11:41:25 PM EST

I'll bet it's a lot easier to leave DNA on things than to leave fingerprints there.

Say you're arrested some month for, say, failing you pay your car registration on time. You join the DNA database.

Two months after that, a burglar shoots a man in the street two blocks from where you live.

They take DNA samples from the surrounding ground, and among them are yours - after all, you walk down that street every day, dropping skin flakes, etc. The burglar's are there too, but by your bad luck, he's not in the database, and you are. Instant conviction?

Expunged my ass! (4.00 / 1) (#35)
by slice2 on Tue Aug 21, 2001 at 07:32:27 AM EST

I really liked the Democrat's version of the plan - the DNA records of those found not guilty would be expunged - sure they would. And people who get arrested actually have rights. Sure they do. It amazes me that people actually believe this kind of crap. Don't worry, it's for your own protection.

To understand recursion, one must first understand recursion.

Scarily hyperbolic (5.00 / 1) (#37)
by Paul Johnson on Tue Aug 21, 2001 at 08:47:00 AM EST

"A lot of people who are arrested are guilty as sin and never get convicted," said House Speaker S. Vance Wilkins Jr. (R-Amherst). With a government like this, who needs a scary "evil empire"?

The implication is that this statement hides authoritarian leanings. But look a bit closer.

Is the statement correct? It seems quite likely. Police arrest a lot of people on suspicion and then release them for lack of evidence. I would guess that their suspicion is correct in the majority of cases. So my tentative conclusion (absent some more convincing statistics) is that Speaker Wilkins statement is literally true.

Now this does not mean that we should lower the standard of evidence required to convict. Even if we ignore the horrendous miscarriages of justice that occur already, the principle of "proof beyond reasonable doubt" was put in place for good reason.

But a lowering of the standard is not what is being suggested here. The proposal is simply to give the police more information about potential suspects in a way that has almost no impact on their rights. Compared to the inconvenience of being arrested, taking a DNA sample is inconsequential. Police already routinely fingerprint and photograph suspects. How is DNA any different?

I'm well aware of the statistical dangers of DNA tests: give a test with a 1e-6 chance of a false match to 1e6 people and you will probably get a false positive or two. But the solution to this problem is to educate the police, lawyers, judges and juries about what false positives are. Banning it is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Incidentally, the idea that fingerprints are a foolproof method of identification came from the original work on the subject by Sir Francis Galton towards the end of the 19th Century. It has become part of popular knowledge, and as a result testemony by a fingerprint expert has become accepted as absolute proof of identification in the courts. But the probability of false postives in fingerprinting has never been checked since. Its possible that fingerprints, especially the smudged or partial prints that are likely to be lifted from a crime scene, have a much higher false positive rate than DNA tests.

You are lost in a twisty maze of little standards, all different.

Repeat after me, there is a difference (4.00 / 1) (#38)
by haus on Tue Aug 21, 2001 at 09:32:45 AM EST

Failing to see the difference in potential between DNA sampling and fingerprinting is simply startling. Yes, both can provide a searchable database for direct identification of identified samples. But there are many potential items that can be done with DNA samples that cannot be done with fingerprints.

For instance, there is a belief that genetics have an influence on behavior. Now by creating an expanded library of DNA samplings, it will only be a matter of time before someone suggest that we modify the testing parameters that are applied to the DNA Samples to look for characteristics such as a propensity to commit a crime.

Also remember that the term arrest, at least in the state of Virginia the term arrest is a much broader term than most realize. Getting a speeding ticket for 10 over in a 55 is technically an arrest. And from personal experience I can inform you that DNA testing is quite mobile, I was tested in the field for the Military's great plan to have DNA samples to help identify body parts. So look forward to the possibility of being stopped going through Virginia, "License, registration and open your mouth for the DNA Sample".

"I mean, who wants to be the @&^%$K! goddess of macrame?"
[ Parent ]
Road block DNA Testing (none / 0) (#39)
by roboticlod on Tue Aug 21, 2001 at 10:45:35 AM EST

So look forward to the possibility of being stopped going through Virginia, "License, registration and open your mouth for the DNA Sample".

Ooo, that make me think of the movie Gatica (sp?). Good movie. How about that for a scenario of evil DNA testing. Man sought for murder because he was genecically "inferior," and therefore must be a criminal.

------------ Hell, I might not even agree with what I say. Sometimes I just like to get ideas out there; to explore them, and to help me figure out what I believe.
[ Parent ]
Yea they want to protect us..from ourselves. (3.00 / 1) (#41)
by steveaustin on Tue Aug 21, 2001 at 01:45:43 PM EST

I have heard alot of concerns on kuro5hin about the DNA Bank,and the majority of these concerns are well founded. But unfortunatly there are those who believe that this program will go as planned and everything will be ok...we have only to look to history and we will undertstand that absolute power corrupts absolutely. The DNA bank is there to help the government keep track of the cirminals and keep the public safe, and you know for the most part that is exactly what it will do.So they can say what was all the noise about, and it will even catch some very convenient criminals, they'll give them names like Roberto the killer moosa and Leroy on the rampage jones. And we will site back and say whew..thank GOD for that DNA bank. And before you can say "YOU WANT TO PUT THAT WERE" your all greased up and ready for lovin! Then the Government can say see this is a good program so were going to take things even further, and I don't think that they are also going to tell you of there little side projects as well,and lets not forget what they want to do in England, implant a tracking device to keep track of the criminals, and they are even talking about doing the same with newborn children, Oh you didn't forget about that did you. there are some good people who have slowed the corrupt wheel of government but unfortunately they are few and far between, and the wheel still turns. Once there is money to be made and more power to be obtained they will make it no matter who they have to hurt to do it.
---- seymor was going to tear into it like bag of frozen peas, unfortunately it was a sack of potato's a factor he wasn't prepared for.
Reliability (5.00 / 1) (#45)
by Herring on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 07:16:19 AM EST

The average punter seems to be convinced that DNA testing is absolutely infallible - figures of one in however-many million. This would be true if DNA was distributed evenly around the world. Consider a small, closed community - the ultimate example probably being the Amish (don't have a link to their web site). In this situation, most of the group will have very similar DNA.

The Amish may be an extreme example, but where you get small pockets of racial minorites who don't interbreed with the rest of the population in an area, the same thing could happen.

Say lol what again motherfucker, say lol what again, I dare you, no I double dare you
Proposed expansion of DNA testing in Virginia | 45 comments (42 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:


All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!