Teen convicts, charged adults may get US DNA files

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DNA profiles from juvenile offenders and from adults arrested but not convicted could be added to the FBI’s national DNA database, USA Today reports. Now, DNA only from convicted adults may be placed in the national database, which is used to compare samples with evidence from crime scenes. As of January, there were about 1.3 million DNA samples in the database. Adding adult arrestees and juvenile offenders would greatly expand the DNA system’s worth by increasing the number of potential matches, administration officials say. Justice Department officials are pushing for legislation this year. Critics say the proposal would threaten privacy by expanding the pool beyond adult criminals. “It’s only a matter of time before the government gets its hands on those DNA samples [held by states] and starts playing around with our genetic codes,” says Barry Steinhardt of the American Civil Liberties Union. Privacy advocates, noting that researchers are identifying genetic markers for height, hair color and other features, suspect that authorities soon will want to search DNA samples for such genetic markers. As of December, 6,670 DNA samples from the national database had been matched to unsolved crimes, the FBI says.

Link: http://www.usatoday.com/usatonline/20030416/5073668s.htm

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