Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Mass DNA Collection

Here in Massachusetts, police in the town of Truro have been taking DNA samples from the men in the town without any reasonable cause or suspicion. They hope to link a sample with DNA from semen found in a murder victim three years ago. The ACLU has asked the police to stop.

Why? Giving the samples is voluntary. What's the problem with that?

Well, the problem is that they are keeping track of who refuses to give samples. And so, if the police ask you to give a sample and you don't want the government to have your DNA, which I certainly wouldn't, you basically get put on a list of suspects.

It's a catch-22. It's extortion. Either the government gets your DNA, and, as we all know, once the government has information about you it will use it however it wants, or, having done nothing to draw suspicion other than refuse to give up your civil rights, you get tagged as a suspect. Awesome.

That would be like if prosecutors were allowed to argue that by exercising your Miranda rights and refusing to talk to police you demonstrated guilt. If the government can use citizens exercising their rights as cause to scrutinize and intimidate them, it is tantamount to not having rights at all. "You can vote, but we're going to keep track of it if you do." "You can speak freely but we're going to put you on a list if you do."

Meet the new McCarthyism, same as the old McCarthyism. "We must protect the freedoms of Americans by violating those freedoms."


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