Federal officials propose to start collecting DNA samples from all citizens arrested in connection with any federal crime and from many immigrants detained by federal authorities, says the Washington Post. The change will add genetic identifiers from more than 1 million individuals a year to the swiftly growing federal law enforcement DNA database. The policy substantially expands the current practice of routinely collecting DNA samples from only those convicted of federal crimes. Thirteen states now DNA from many people who are arrested and turn the data over to the federal government.
The initiative, to be published as a proposed rule in the Federal Register, reflects a congressional directive that DNA from arrestees be collected to help catch a range of domestic criminals. It also requires, for the first time, the collection of DNA samples from people other than U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents who are detained by U.S. authorities. Privacy advocates worry that people could be detained erroneously and entered into the database without cause, and that DNA samples from those who are never convicted of a crime might be permanently retained by the FBI.