Sunday, September 28, 2014


Sep 28 2014

Remember that time the Supreme Court ruled that our DNA is basically just like our fingerprints, and cops can snatch it from us subsequent to arrest? Remember the giant biometrics project the FBI has been spending at least a billion dollars of our money building (with many of the details kept secret), called ‘Next Generation Identification’? With those powers and monies combined, the FBI this week announced its plans “to accelerate the collection of DNA profiles for the government’s massive new biometric identification database.” Like with other biometrics collection schemes, the FBI aims to get local police to do the groundwork.

What could go wrong?

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Various FBI divisions “are collaborating to develop and implement foundational efforts to streamline and automate law enforcement’s DNA collection processes” including at arrest, booking and conviction, according to an Aug. 19 notice about the industry briefing. The ongoing groundwork is expected to facilitate the “integration of Rapid DNA Analysis into the FBI’s Combined DNA Index (CODIS) and Next Generation Identification (NGI) systems from the booking environment.”

CODIS is the government’s central DNA database.

Rapid DNA analysis can be performed by cops in less than two hours, rather than by technicians at a scientific lab over several days. The benefit for law enforcement is that an officer can run a cheek swab on the spot or while an arrestee is in temporary custody. If there is a database match, they can then move to lock up the suspect immediately.

While current law requires DNA sent to CODIS to be examined in an accredited lab, FBI officials are looking for a “legislative tweak” to enable local law enforcement to skip that step, and send arrestees’ DNA straight to the FBI’s national database. In 2011, one out of every 25 Americans was arrested.

EFF’s Jennifer Lynch, one of the nation’s foremost experts on FBI biometrics programs, explains why the bureau’s DNA plans pose a serious threat to civil liberties.