A Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation has revealed a plan by the Department of Homeland Security to collect DNA from children 14 years old and up without a search warrant or criminal prosecution.
EFF reported on Monday that the DHS plan
appears to be working its way through DHS in the wake of regulations from the Department of Justice that require all federal agencies – including DHS and its components such as ICE – to collect DNA from individuals arrested for federal crimes as well as “from non-United States persons who are detained under the authority of the United States,” whether or not they have been involved in criminal activity.
“Collecting DNA from anyone detained by the government for any number of non-criminal reasons – especially juveniles – seems to be yet another step on the slippery slope to collecting DNA from everyone in the United States, no matter their status,” writes Jennifer Lynch for the digital rights organization.
The unconstitutional trend picked up traction in 2009 when the FBI joined 15 states in taking DNA samples from people who have been arrested or detained but not convicted. At the time, the FBI database contained 6.7 million DNA profiles with a backlog of 500,000 cases. It expected a 15-fold increase in that number by 2012.
Congress has enthusiastically jumped on the DNA collection bandwagon under the cover of protecting children. The Katie Sepich Enhanced DNA Collection Act of 2010 uses the power of the purse string to convince states to keep and expand existing DNA collection programs. According to the law, increased federal crime-fighting funding will be available to states that have DNA-collection programs.
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