Let’s not hear any more nonsense about how the Democrats are the defenders of civil liberties:
Gerstein posts a televised interview of Obama and John Walsh of America’s Most Wanted. The nation’s chief executive extols the virtues of mandatory DNA testing of Americans upon arrest, even absent charges or a conviction. Obama said, “It’s the right thing to do” to “tighten the grip around folks” who commit crime.
As the ACLU notes, a DNA sample is much more revealing than a fingerprint:
The American Civil Liberties Union claims DNA sampling is different from mandatory, upon-arrest fingerprinting that has been standard practice in the United States for decades.
A fingerprint, the group says, reveals nothing more than a person’s identity. But much can be learned from a DNA sample, which codes a person’s family ties, some health risks, and, according to some, can predict a propensity for violence.
The ACLU is suing California to block its voter-approved measure requiring saliva sampling of people picked up on felony charges. Authorities in the Golden State are allowed to conduct so-called “familial searching” — when a genetic sample does not directly match another, authorities start investigating people with closely matched DNA in hopes of finding leads to the perpetrator.
And that’s only what can be done today. Who knows what more will be possible when we’ve learned more of the genetic code?
But the more important point is that sampling on arrest means sampling from innocent people. If the president has his way, a baseless arrest will be enough to collect someone’s DNA and keep it on file forever.
I often say that there are those to my left who want a nanny state and those to my right who want a police state, while I just want to be free. So one “bright side” to shifting from Bush and the Patriot Act’s question law enforcement provisions was, presumably, that President Obama would at least be too busy pushing for a nanny state to worry about expanding the power of law enforcement. Unfortunately, even that silver lining appears to be absent.