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New Plan for Protecting Genetic Privacy: Don't Get Arrested.

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May 20, 2008

(Also, don’t be an immigrant.)

A few weeks ago, the Justice Department quietly released proposed regulations that would permit the collection and permanent retention of DNA from anyone arrested for a federal crime, or any non-U.S. person detained under federal authorities. As I wrote on Daily Kos when the regs came out, this sweeping change could ultimately result in the government taking DNA from individuals arrested for the most minor of crimes, such as peaceful protesters demonstrating on federal property, like the National Mall or a government building, as well as any lawful visitor to our country who is pulled aside at an airport by the Transportation Security Administration.

Today, we filed comments on the proposed regulations, highlighting the threats to privacy and civil rights that the new regulations pose. The Justice Department will consider public comments in developing its final rule. While the public comment period is now over, it’s never too late to tell your elected representatives how you feel about this massive expansion of the federal government’s DNA databank. In the meantime, we’ll be doing our best to stay out of it.