Privacy Concerns

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Privacy Concerns Most studies have shown that popular opinion holds that without a doubt national DNA databases have proved useful in criminal investigations (Wallace, 2006, pS27). The concept of a national DNA database has raised concern about privacy and human rights as seen through the scope of public safety. All of these concerns are elevated with databases include convicted, arrestee, innocent, and “rehabilitated” offenders (Suter, 2010, p339). Robin Williams of University of Duham (2006) asserts that: “The rapid implementation and continuing expansion of forensic DNA databases around the world has been supported by claims about their effectiveness in criminal investigations and challenged by assertions of the resulting intrusiveness into individual privacy” (p545). To determine the balance between privacy and public safety legislation must address many questions including (but not limited to): when is a sample required to be obtained and by whom, is consent required, is force ever acceptable to obtain a sample, and which samples should be retained? Dr Katina Michael has reported that some instances that constitute acceptable DNA sample collection and storage (Table 4). The United States, England and Wales contain legislation that authorizes the collection of DNA from individuals arrested for violations of certain federal criminal laws and inclusion into the national DNA database of all profiles. Primary concerns focus these legal authorizations address privacy of a person and legal search and seizures of biological samples. For many countries like the United States there is a need to enact special legislation which led to delays in the implementation of DNA databases (Goodwin, et al., 2007, p102). In the United Sta... ... middle of paper ... from law enforcement databases” for those who receive acquittals or whose convictions are overturned; there is no reference to physical DNA samples (Lwin, 2010, p21). Historically, legislative proposals purpose indefinite retention of evidentiary DNA samples, however the US, unlike England and Wales, does not refer to retention periods for genetic information post sentence completion. Individuals may find concern for personal genetic identifiers if the physical sample is retained post sentence completion, acquittal or if found innocent (Congressional Research Service, 2010, pp13-14; Beiber, 2002, p14). Studies assert the method of sample collection, accreditation of agencies collecting samples, legislative limits on retention periods for biometric information and a focus on balancing privacy and crime deterrence will structure a successful DNA database model.
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