NYCLU Joins State Senator Tom Duane in Challenging Expansion of State's DNA Database
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Proposed Law Could Undermine Public Safety and Liberties
ALBANY, NY – At a news conference in Albany today, the New York Civil Liberties Union stood with State Senator Tom Duane as he called for answers to questions about legislation that would expand the state’s DNA database to include DNA from all persons convicted of any crime, including non-violent felonies and misdemeanors.
“Before rushing to legislate a massive expansion of the state’s databank, we need to address a number of questions about resources, efficiency — about the regulatory safeguards that ensure the integrity of the process and protect individual rights and liberties,” said Senator Duane. “As of today, these questions haven’t even been asked, never mind answered.”
Citing documented incidents from jurisdictions throughout the country, the NYCLU warned that inefficiency and negligence have led to critical flaws in DNA analysis.
“Adding many thousands of DNA samples to state databanks can and has compromised the integrity, efficiency and accuracy of DNA labs,” said Robert A. Perry, the NYCLU’s Legislative Director. “The legislature needs to understand the susceptibility of DNA science to human error and abuse before it contemplates the databanking of persons convicted of shoplifting, vandalism or trespassing.”
The NYCLU cited the problem in New York State of local medical examiners who have been collecting DNA samples from persons who are not even crime suspects. “These ‘rogue’ databases operate outside the law, and yet the state has yet to rein them in,” said Arthur Eisenberg, NYCLU Legal Director. “The state must correct the problem before it considers expanding its collection of DNA data.”
Every month, you'll receive regular roundups of the most important civil rights and civil liberties developments. Remember: a well-informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.
The Latest in National Security
ACLU Acknowledges Improvements to DOJ Racial Profiling Policy, But Says Far More is Needed
ACLU Applauds Court For Allowing Case Challenging FBI’s Wrongful Prosecution of Chinese American Physics Professor To Move Forward
Shen v. Simpson
Chinese Immigrants Sue Florida Over Unconstitutional and Discriminatory Law Banning Them From Buying Land
The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.
Learn More About National Security
The ACLU’s National Security Project is dedicated to ensuring that U.S. national security policies and practices are consistent with the Constitution, civil liberties, and human rights.