Government and DNA

The role of the federal government seems to be growing by leaps and bounds these days. The latest expansion of the Fed’s role in modern society is the collection of DNA. Due to the occasional law against privacy, the government has only collected DNA samples of individuals who were convicted of a crime. Considering the entire population of the nation, this is a small percentage.

In the interest of expanding federal DNA records, and having Congressional approval, the Justice Department now has permission to record the DNA of every person arrested for a federal crime. This move expands the percentage of individuals who’s DNA is federal information by an unknown factor. While the percentage of people previously arrested by a federal agency is still fairly small, we can only estimate future proportions.

I find DNA to a particularly interesting topic of discussion. We worry about the behavioral theories of sociology, anthropology, economics, ect. In reality, all human behavior is defined by the protein structure of our genetic code. The more we understand our genetic coding, the more we understand human behavior, health, physical/mental composition and so forth. An individual’s DNA is the key to who you are, where you came from, and what your offspring will be like. There is nothing (in the physical sense) to an individual that is more important than their genes.

As we continuously debate the government’s relationship to individual privacy, I wonder how private DNA should be considered. In this case, the Feds argue that DNA is a fool-proof way to track an individual who is likely to commit a crime (or at least has before). In a more fundamental sense, it is in all of human DNA to provide a benefit for an entire social group at the cost of a few individuals. In this case, it is knowing the actual genetic code of criminals and those who might be (ironic I know).

Considering this, I am fine with the notion of recording the DNA of convicted felons. As for those who are simply arrested, this is a gray area. A significant percentage of those arrested are not convicted of anything. I’m not so sure those individuals should face the same consequences as those whom are convicted. What are your thoughts?

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Published in: on April 17, 2008 at 4:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

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