Lawyers Fight DNA Samples Gained on Sly [NY Times]

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Porsche1209, Apr 3, 2008.

  1. Porsche1209 macrumors newbie


    Jun 6, 2007
  2. RedTomato macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2005
    .. London ..
    Your analysis is not complete, and you mean well but you have a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of DNA collection in presenting it as a definite proof of guilt or innocence.

    It is certainly not 100% proof. A match is often given as 1 in x million. When you consider the population of a country, then it means there could be 100+ other people who also match the sample.

    Also, there is little to prevent the police from planting a DNA sample at a crime scene. It's easier to plant a sample than say, a handgun.

    Also, the police are starting to use DNA as a way of tracking political activists and peaceful protesters. In the UK, the police are trying to build up a national DNA database, with samples from everyone in the UK. There's been much objection from judges and the public, but they are pressing ahead behind the scenes. Collecting DNA from UK schoolchildren in case they become future criminals is being seriously discussed at the moment.

    I myself have refused to give a DNA sample to the UK police when I was arrested along with several others on a peaceful demo. They spent three hours persuading, threatening, and then just refusing to let me go until I gave a DNA sample, even though I was not charged with anything, and no reason was given to me for my arrest.

    Under recently passed laws, I was forced to give them a DNA sample, with no option for refusing, even though the police agreed with me that I had committed no crime, that there was no crime being investigated, that I and the other arrestees were not under suspicion of anything.

    They very much wanted a saliva sample, and I immediately offered them a hair sample, which is an acceptable substitute under the law. I was pressured for 3 hours to give them my saliva as for some reason they didn't want to take a hair sample. (probably as saliva is easier to process).

    The DNA from that hair sample is now tied with my identity, and on any other peaceful demo or public assembly that I attend, if they do a sweep of the scene, picking up hair fragments, or skin cells from the ground, they will be able to identify that I and other named individuals were there.

    If you want to see where this could lead, look at McCarthyism, and the current war on anyone who doesn't fit in. Also consider the massive government efforts on tracking peaceful protesters that continues to this day.

    This is the current accepted State use of DNA in democratic western countries. Following our lead, what uses do you think countries like China are projecting for their own national DNA databases?

    x RedTomato
  3. Henri Gaudier macrumors 6502a

    Henri Gaudier

    May 4, 2005
    What an awful experience Red Tomato - my sincere condolences. Did you just give in due to the pressure? I ask because if you hadn't done anything to prosecute could they have really physically forced you to get a swab from your mouth? Wouldn't that have been an assault (Which they knew and so didn't do it) and so they just kept leaning on you for hours until you relented? This is sport after all for you average cop.

    England is a very rotten place in this regard. I read how if you visit George Orwells' house in Islington you are watched by 32 CCTV cameras - what a country. The same is true in Orwell Park in Spain. This poison is spreading fast to France too after the London bombings and how good the footage was for propaganda purposes. Where will it end?
  4. RedTomato macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2005
    .. London ..
    Hi Henri,

    Thanks for your sympathy. I had no option to refuse - the police would have been within their legal rights to take a sample from me by force. The law only gives me the the choice of giving a saliva sample or a hair sample. Refusal is not an option.

    I chose to give a hair sample. They didn't want to accept it and spent hours pressuring me to give a saliva sample. In the end I 'won' and forced them to accept the hair. But really it wasn't a win at all.

    They already accepted I was an innocent citizen - then I shouldn't be put on their database or forced to give anything.
  5. nbs2 macrumors 68030


    Mar 31, 2004
    A geographical oddity
    Red - you have my sympathies. I believe that as you present it, the law as it stands in the UK is inappropriate. Depriving you of your privacy interest under the authority of law seems overly invasive.

    However, the cases presented in the article seem fair enough to me. The headline sampling seems fair enough to me. The police waited for Gallego to drop the butt - they didn't take it from him or otherwise coerce him into giving it up. The cases at the end of the article, demonstrating some of the limits of collection, also seem fair as far as I understand the law. Swapping out the bottle for another or kicking the butt off the patio required the police to steal the original bottle or invade the home - both unacceptable.

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