Should all humans be DNA typed at birth and entered into a world-wide registry? I, myself, would have no objection to having my DNA profile in a data base available to law enforcement. I feel that...

Should all humans be DNA typed at birth and entered into a world-wide registry?

I, myself, would have no objection to having my DNA profile in a data base available to law enforcement. I feel that if the DNA of everyone on earth were in a data base, getting away with major crimes against persons would be markedly reduced. Paternity issues could be readily resolved. The assumption of false identities would be precluded. Unidentified bodies would no longer be a problem.

I recognize that many would feel this is in invasion of privacy. However, isn't it similar to having people's fingerprints on file? It could be argued that the only persons who would object to having their DNA on file would be those planning to commit crime. Your opinion?

26 Answers | Add Yours

enotechris's profile pic

Posted on

Only if done voluntarily, and only if the government has no access to it, meaning it be kept private, and I would add the proviso that one could withdraw your DNA information at will, and no further record would be kept.

Without those safeguards, we are merely donating data to those to whom we should not entrust such information.  Those who argue that it would "help solve crime" may have a point, if in solving the crime the government got a warrant to examine a particular individual's information.  That would at least have some safeguard through the court on law enforcement activity, but as we have seen in recent years, that concept seems to have disappeared, and such agencies act with impunity.  On the contrary, setting up such a system will "help perpetrate crime" through governmental abuses.

dmcgillem's profile pic

Posted on

I agree with all who are leary of this type of information being on file.  When I was in college, I had to research something similar to this and stumbled across information of the original intent of the SSN.  It was assured at the time, in order to be approved, that it would NOT EVER be used as a form of identification and would only be used for allocation and distribution of benefits.  Now, however, we have to present our SSN for a multitude of identification purposes.  No matter the assurances that the government might give about how the information would or wouldn't be used - only in crimes for identification of perpetrator, for example - I believe it would morph into other uses.  I agree strongly with number 7 about the possible abuses pertaining specifically to someone's proclivity for a possibly expensive disease.

boblawrence's profile pic

Posted on

My masive fear about this is the way that this would produce a huge data bank that would be the target for terrorists, hackers, criminals and underground organisations the world over. Just think of the potential for identity theft and the way that various peoples could frame innocents for crimes they didn't commit. Whilst I don't have any problem giving a DNA sample for this, I strongly doubt that any government is capable of designing a system that is capable of protecting this incredibly valuable information.

I think this post reveals a misconception about DNA. True, hackers could get into the data base, and therefore be able to match up a biological specimen such as blood with the person who shed it.  But they would not be able to frame anyone or steal an identity.  To do this they would have to be able to manufacture a biological material with the same DNA pattern of a person in the data base, then plant it at a scene.  This is not possible.  If you wanted to clone a person's DNA, you would have to start with a sample of their actual DNA, not a mere paper notation of the nucleic acid sequences it contains.

readerofbooks's profile pic

Posted on

What an interesting thread! I would not be an advocate for this. In principle this is a good idea, but in reality there will be problems. We would have no idea of how this information would be used. It can discriminate people in so many different ways, such as jobs, insurance, college admissions, and the like. Also you can imagine if this information got into the wrong hands, people can make an enormous profit. You can pay to get your potential spouses DNA to make sure that he or she is fit. The main problem is that all of this can reduce a person to their biological makeup. People are more than that.

pacorz's profile pic

Posted on

I would absolutely not want my DNA on file. It seems like every month someone has hacked yet another "totally secure" database, and in a country where health insurance is a private, for-profit enterprise, that information is far too valuable to place at risk. If I am carrying a marker for cancer or Huntington's disease or something like that, I don't want that data where anybody can get at it.

I can also see a big, data-savvy employer (Google? Microsoft?) using such a database to screen applicants for things like an alcoholism gene; it wouldn't matter if you were a teetotaller, you'd still be blackballed for the job.

I know of someone who was turned down for a mortgage in the 1980's at a small town bank because somehow the bank found out that the individual had gone in for an HIV test. Although the test was negative, the bank made the assumption that the person must have been engaging in risky behaviors, and might die before the mortgage was paid off.

 

accessteacher's profile pic

Posted on

My masive fear about this is the way that this would produce a huge data bank that would be the target for terrorists, hackers, criminals and underground organisations the world over. Just think of the potential for identity theft and the way that various peoples could frame innocents for crimes they didn't commit. Whilst I don't have any problem giving a DNA sample for this, I strongly doubt that any government is capable of designing a system that is capable of protecting this incredibly valuable information.

litteacher8's profile pic

Posted on

I think it's a little scary because I can see the potential for abuse. We have become so reliant on DNA that everyone seems to think it's infallible.  It's still an inexact science though.  For example, let's say there is only a small amount of DNA at a crime scene or it's corrupted, but it's the same type as yours and yours is in a registry.  People might assume you're guilty even if you're innocent.

bullgatortail's profile pic

Posted on

I would have no problem allowing voluntary DNA sampling, and in a perfect world it's a great idea to collect samples of each new birth. But brettd makes an even greater point in the second post. Government abuse is rampant at most levels, and I would find it difficult to trust officials who are entrusted with maintaining the confidentiality of DNA data.

pohnpei397's profile pic

Posted on

My main worry would be related to things like medical insurance or even to my chances of getting hired for a job.  My problem would be that I would worry that I might end up getting rejected by an employer or insurer because of something they found in my DNA.  What if they found that I have a propensity for some sort of cancer that would end up costing them a lot of money if I ended up contracting the disease?  Might they not reject me so as to save money?  I'm not too worried about the crime aspect, but I would worry about this.

literaturenerd's profile pic

Posted on

I would agree with the suggestion given by belarafon, voluntary submission. The only problem here would be that parents, if done at birth, would be making decisions which could affect their children later in life if the children were to disagree with the process (see it as an invasion of privacy).

I do like the impact of lessening crimes.

Overall, I am intrigued by the question posed.

belarafon's profile pic

Posted on

While I agree that having all our DNA in a database would make it easier for the honest among us (we have nothing to hide, after all), I still have to say no. As #2 says, the potential for abuse is incredible. Also, it is a privacy issue; I don't need anyone knowing my genetic makeup unless I give permission.

If this was a law in serious danger of being passed, I'd advocate for a voluntary submission process: if you feel that you have nothing to hide and want to be easily cleared of other people's crimes, go ahead. If you don't want to submit a sample, no one should force you to. However, when law enforcement needs samples from suspects, these samples should be entered with full record of the investigation and a notation that they were or were not cleared of suspicion.

lmetcalf's profile pic

Posted on

This is a really interesting proposition!  While there are pros and cons to every issue, I think the good would likely outweigh the bad here.  I can see where privacy might be an issue, but if there were proper legal protections in regard to the uses of the DNA information, then many of those concerns could be precluded. For example, the information could be used in criminal justice cases, but not for scientific research without prior consent. As you mention in your post, I am especially intrigued about the potential to lesson crime. If you know you would more likely be caught would you not commit the crime?

larrygates's profile pic

Posted on

I also would have no objection to having my DNA profile determined. There are numerous uses, medical and otherwise that might be made of it other than tracking criminal activity, although this certainly would be one use. I do think, however, that it should be completely voluntary and not a requirement. There are any number of persons who for whatever reason strongly object to anyone knowing anything of their personal lives. Privacy in this regard is not a great concern for me; but it might be for others. Therefore I would wholeheartedly support DNA type casting at birth provided the parents of the child issue an informed consent agreement.

brettd's profile pic

Posted on

The potential for abuse, by government agencies, law enforcement, insurance companies, you name it, is massive in such a scenario.  I don't think it is a good idea to take peoples' DNA unless 1) it is voluntary, and/or 2) they have committed crimes and represent a direct threat to society.  The benefits you list seem unworthy of the privacy we would sacrifice, and the abuse we could be subjected to.

printingfairfax's profile pic

Posted on

While I agree that having all our DNA in a database would make it easier for the honest among us (we have nothing to hide, after all), I still have to say no. As #2 says, the potential for abuse is incredible. Also, it is a privacy issue; I don't need anyone knowing my genetic makeup unless I give permission.

If this was a law in serious danger of being passed, I'd advocate for a voluntary submission process: if you feel that you have nothing to hide and want to be easily cleared of other people's crimes, go ahead. If you don't want to submit a sample, no one should force you to. However, when law enforcement needs samples from suspects, these samples should be entered with full record of the investigation and a notation that they were or were not cleared of suspicion.

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