Expert: Checking Worker Status With DNA, Prints Expensive


New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal to create a DNA/fingerprint databank to check the legal status of all workers has been greeted coolly by business owners and a top computer expert, reports the New York Post. “It’s all lofty ideas – just try to do it in practice,” said John Yohe, one of the creators of COMPSTAT, the New York Police Department’s successful crime-tracking database. There is currently no national DNA database, so the program would have to be built from scratch. The tracking of tens of millions of people would be “outrageously expensive,” Yohe said, without factoring in the costs of hiring thousands of workers to log the info.

Fingerprints would be easier and cheaper to gather, but still problematic. “Fingerprints are less open to abuse,” he said, pointing out that DNA contains sensitive information about a person’s genetic makeup and pre-disposition to disease. “But you need to feed the print into a machine that does the analyzing,” Yohe said. “You can’t expect every mom-and-pop bodega to go out and buy these things.”


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