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House Votes to Expand DNA Database

GENETIC PRIVACY—U.S.

May 21, 2010

By a vote of 357 to 32, the House of Representatives has approved legislation to provide funding to state governments that require DNA samples from adults arrested on suspicions of serious crimes. CNET News reports that while supporters of the plan point to the use of such data to reduce instances of false convictions and to help solve violent crimes, civil libertarians and privacy advocates are concerned about plans to extract DNA from individuals who have not been convicted of a crime. Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center said the U.S. should instead follow the example set by the European Court of Human Rights, which has ruled that holding DNA samples from people arrested but not convicted of crimes violates their privacy rights.
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