The American Civil Liberties Union has filed suit to block a new New Jersey law requiring the collection of DNA from criminals. The Newark Star-Ledger says the ACLU argues that the statute violates convicts’ privacy and requires them to provide evidence for other crimes they’re not suspected of committing. “Any time the government collects evidence on you, they need probable cause to do so,” said the ACLU’s Ed Barocas.
The law requires all criminals — in prison, on parole or on probation — to provide a DNA sample for analysis and inclusion in a computerized database used by law enforcement agencies.
The law expanding on an existing program that collects DNA from sex offenders and violent felons. It does not apply to traffic offenses or nonindictable “disorderly persons offenses,” such as shoplifting, simple assault or theft of under $200.
Dozens of states have passed similar laws. Civil libertarians have complained that they’re turning America into a “surveillance state.”