EFF Petitions SCOTUS on DNA Dragnet
February 6, 2013 by Sam Rolley
The Electronic Frontier Foundation urged the Supreme Court recently to require law enforcement agencies to get a warrant before forcing individuals to give DNA samples upon being arrested for a crime.
In an amicus brief filed Friday in Maryland v. King – a case which challenges a Maryland mandate that requires all arrestees to submit to DNA sampling whether they end up being convicted of a crime or not — EFF argues that DNA collection is a major intrusion of privacy.
“Your DNA is the roadmap to an extraordinary amount of private information about you and your family,” said EFF Staff Attorney Jennifer Lynch. “It contains data on your current health, your potential for disease, and your family background. For government access to personal information this sensitive, the Fourth Amendment requires a warrant.”
EFF has filed briefs in other cases regarding the practice of collecting DNA from all arrestees, as 27 other States and the Federal government have laws similar to Maryland’s requiring that the DNA of anyone taken into police custody is logged.
“Let’s say you were picked up by police at a political protest and arrested, but then released and never convicted of a crime. Under these laws, your genetic material is held in a law enforcement database, often indefinitely,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien. “This is an unconstitutional search and seizure.”
The Court, which has becoming increasingly sensitive to matters involving law enforcement and technology in recent years, will likely hear arguments in Maryland v. King later this month.