Wednesday, June 7, 2006
The nation's databank of DNA "fingerprints" is growing by more than 80,000 people every month, giving police an unprecedented crime-fighting tool while prompting warnings that the expansion threatens constitutional privacy protections.
With little public debate, state and federal rules for cataloging DNA have broadened in recent years to include not only violent felons, but also perpetrators of lesser crimes and people who have been arrested but not convicted.
Now some in law enforcement are calling for a national registry of every American's DNA profile against which police could instantly compare crime-scene specimens. Advocates say the system would dissuade many would-be criminals and help capture the rest. Opponents say that the growing use of DNA scans is making suspects out of many law-abiding Americans and turning the "innocent until proven guilty" maxim on its head. More. . . [Mark Godsey]