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Court Approves DNA Collection from Arrestees

GENETIC PRIVACY—U.S.

February 24, 2012

A California appeals court has upheld a measure to take DNA samples from all adults arrested for a felony. Wired reports that an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawsuit challenged the constitutionality of the practice, but the appeals panel called DNA collection "substantially indistinguishable" from fingerprinting--a decision the ACLU and Judge William Fletcher disagree with. "Fingerprints may be taken from an arrestee in order to identify him--that is, to determine whether he is who he claims to be" not "solely for an investigative purpose," wrote Fletcher in his dissent. The ACLU agrees with Fletcher and also points out that through a DNA sample, much more than identity can be learned about a person.
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