Technology developed by the federal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will soon be deployed at police stations across the country, enabling local law enforcement to identify and track people “deemed suspicious” and to permanently store their DNA in databases of potential criminals.

Here’s a bit of background on the disconcerting development as reported by the New York Times. I’m including the lengthy quote from the article so that the shocking scope of the situation can be appreciated:

They call it the “magic box.” Its trick is speedy, nearly automated processing of DNA.

“It’s groundbreaking to have it in the police department,” said Detective Glenn Vandegrift of the Bensalem Police Department. “If we can do it, any department in the country can do it.”

Bensalem, a suburb in Bucks County, near Philadelphia, is on the leading edge of a revolution in how crimes are solved. For years, when police wanted to learn whether a suspect’s DNA matched previously collected crime-scene DNA, they sent a sample to an outside lab, then waited a month or more for results.

But in early 2017, the police booking station in Bensalem became the first in the country to install a Rapid DNA machine, which provides results in 90 minutes, and which police can operate themselves. Since then, a growing number of law enforcement agencies across the country — in Houston, Utah, Delaware — have begun operating similar machines and analyzing DNA on their own.

The science-fiction future, in which police can swiftly identify robbers and murderers from discarded soda cans and cigarette butts, has arrived. In 2017, President Trump signed into law the Rapid DNA Act, which, starting this year, will enable approved police booking stations in several states to connect their Rapid DNA machines to Codis, the national DNA database. Genetic fingerprinting is set to become as routine as the old-fashioned kind.

But already many legal experts and scientists are troubled by the way the technology is being used. As police agencies build out their local DNA databases, they are collecting DNA not only from people who have been charged with major crimes but also, increasingly, from people who are merely deemed suspicious, permanently linking their genetic identities to criminal databases.

That’s the disturbing use being made of DNA by police using technology whose creation was funded by money taken from Americans whose DNA may now be unconstitutionally collected and stored in databases, ready for recall if any one of them is ever “deemed suspicious.”

It’s not like we weren’t warned.

As heard on The Hagmann Report
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