HomeReviewsInterviewsStoreABlogsOn Writing

TTG and I had this discussion the other night, following the conviction of a man who’d murdered a teenage girl over here. Apparently, he’d lived in Australia in the 1990’s, and had convictions for sex offences. His DNA had been taken over there, following the convictions, but because there isn’t an international DNA database, he wasn’t initially linked to the murder.

TTG and I discussed the pros and cons of having DNA put on public record at birth, and I have to say, I’m definitely more for it than against. There’s obviously the civil liberties, and human rights arguments, but I’m of the mind that if you live your life right, then you shouldn’t have anything to fear.

What say you?


  • I lean towards agreeing with you, Karen.


  • I say you’re right. Imagine how many criminals who are free would be forced to live their life right for fear of getting caught. There DNA is on public record for any law enforcement to check out.

    Though it would take a whole hell of a lot to make this world a safe world (and I highly doubt that it would ever happen) DNA on public record may actually be a step towards that direction.


  • MB (Leah)
    February 27
    12:29 pm

    Umm… there are all kinds of other issues that come up with that whole thing. For one, if it’s on public record, what’s to stop that information from getting out to companies who would like a health profile for their employees? Or for insurance companies to use that info for the same reasons?

    These are issues that have been brought up in this discussion on news reports over the years and they are valid.

    There are so many other ethical issues to consider here. It’s not just about if you are a good person or not.

    For criminals system, I’m inclined to be for it. For both saving those wrongly accused as well as getting the guilty. But having a general data base with the DNA of every citizen, is a bit scary to me.

    Personally, I do have DNA on record, which I had done for genealogy purposes, and I allowed it to be included in National Geographic’s Genographic project. So I obviously don’t have a huge objection to my DNA being accessible. But there is always the niggling thing in the back of my head, what if that info got to companies who aren’t ethical or who would use it against me at some point in the future?


  • I’m for it being on legal record, not necessarily public record. Just think of all the John and Jane Does it would eliminate. It would also help in the recovery of kidnapped children as well in the capture of criminals. There are definite advantages to having DNA on record, though I can also see the cons. This is why it shouldn’t be on public record. Just anyone shouldn’t be allowed to access such personal information, and let’s face it; it doesn’t get much more personal than a person’s DNA.

    So, if certain security measures could be taken to keep just anyone from walking off the street and accessing this information, I think it would be a definite tool in aiding the justice system–and let’s face it, it could use the help.


  • I’m not against the idea, but I’d certainly be wary about it being used for the right purposes. They get nutjobs in power all the time. Can you imagine what somebody like Hitler would have done if he’d had access to something like that?

    My name is Shiloh Walker and I’m paranoid. 😉

    However, protecting children is one thing I’d sacrafice just about anything for.


  • In my opinion there is just waaaay too much potential for abuse and I don’t care who the government entity is that would track and keep the DNA on file.

    While I’d agree wholeheartedly that anyone who commits ANY crime (and is convicted) would be required to have their DNA on file, I can’t agree to a blanket policy that everyone at birth put their DNA on file.


  • azteclady
    February 27
    3:28 pm

    I’m with Shiloh on the paranoia front–History is just full of people who ended up abusing their power, no matter how well intentioned they might have been at the beginning.

    However, once convicted of a crime, it would make sense to have a worldwide database with criminals’ DNA, fingerprints, and all that jazz.


  • My feelings on the matter couldn’t be better expressed than the way Rosie put it. Let’s face it, Big Brother has a history of using technology unethically; I can’t see Him drawing the line at public DNA records.


  • Yes, but I am a bit wary of it… who knows what the damn government would do with that information? I mean, if they can do illegal wiretaps, imagine what illegal stuff they could do with your DNA!


  • They’d need to work out a lot of bugs in order to impliment something like this, for instance, what will they do in the case of twins and identical mutiples? I’ve heard of a few cases where the wrong twin was convicted for a crime or pinned with child support when in fact it was their twin based on DNA tests.


  • Bonnie L.
    February 27
    6:03 pm

    I study genetics and I am TOTALLY against an all population DNA database. There is just too much potential for abuse by just about everybody (government, health insurance, credit suppliers, marriage-minded mamas, you name it). Not to mention that I am more on the nuture side of nature vs. nuture and I don’t think that your genetic profile pre-determines who you are, where the people who would potentially have access to this information would be making judgements based on your DNA alone.

    That said, I do wish that a criminal database would be created. However, that brings into question the 5th Amendment which gives you the freedom to not incriminate yourself.

    It is a major sticky wicket and the subject of DNA databases will be a major ethical concern in the future.


  • Eve – I would guess in the case of twins and other multiple births, the DNA information would have to be used in conjunction with unique individual characteristics such as fingerprints.

    I agree that all criminals should have their DNA on record, and this DNA should be available on a worldwide basis. Especially where criminals are moving to other countries.

    However, I don’t agree with everyone having their DNA on record. Mainly for the reasons stated above. Also if you take the UK at the moment how many computers and discs containing confidential information have been lost recently? All it would take would be one corrupt individual and that information could be on the open market. I don’t trust the government to be responsible for that kind of information, their track record shows they can’t be.

    Plus we’d all have to be a lot more careful about what we left behind. If you had access to someone’s hair, skin or blood, you could place them at the scene of a crime.


  • sallahdog
    February 27
    8:25 pm

    Nope, not me… Considering that I have had confidential private financial information stolen and sold and resold causing me no ends of headaches, I don’t trust for one second having DNA on file…

    Think of it this way, right now, we only know of a fraction of what DNA actually does in our genome… What happens if they can find out if someone is likely to become a criminal? Do we kill them before they have a chance? Or can a health insurance company decide that someone who has a gene for cancer is never going to get insurance?

    Look, its too easy for information to get cross referenced and fall into the wrong hands.. I don’t think I want to live in an Orwellian world…

    I have absolutlely NO problems with someone convicted of a crime having to give a sample and for it to be worldwide.. I don’t think for the general population that its a good thing..


  • One thing I want to know is how the hell that man was granted a passport of any kind. Was he deported? Shouldn’t his info–including DNA and arrest record–have been transferred? The man should have made a ping when entering the country. THAT is your flaw. As for the rest, there’s still way to much genocide in the world to allow that kind of breach in personal protection. I’m with Shiloh.



  • I belong to Shiloh’s Paranoid Anonymous Club. Or maybe I shouldn’t say that. There are eyes and ears everywhere!

    Convicted criminals having to surrender DNA along with their other liberties–no problem. Regular joes? Not so much. Given how easily people are stealing financial identities–and how careless the caretakers are when they store/dispose/access that information, I wouldn’t want my DNA record to be accessible. It was bad enough having to get my fingerprints taken to get a driver’s license. (I think they finally killed the law in 2005).

    I’ve never liked the argument that if I’m innocent I don’t have anything to worry about. There have been plenty of innocent people who’ve been impacted by rules and requirements meant to protect them. I’m more concerned by the slipperiness of the slope we’d be on. What would be next? China cloning a cheaper workforce? Insurance companies denying coverage to people with a family history of obesity or high blood pressure? DNA being hijacked by a genetics company to create humans to harvest stem cells or fresh body parts for the transplant black market?

    Hey, I’m a writer–creative paranoia is what I do.


  • Totally against it. I’m with the other folks – way too easy for the government to abuse it.

    I look at a similar identification program the USDA is shoving down producers’ throats on the animal side on the house – NAIS, National Animal Identification System. Supposedly this is to aid in disease tracking quickly and efficiently. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Noble? Who wants to see animals needlessly die?

    They want every household that has animals, farm or otherwise, 4-H kid with just a pet rabbit or the actual farmer, to get a premise id which is tied to GPS coordinates to where you live. The USDA calls it “voluntary”. However, if a state fights back and refuses to make it mandatory at the state level, the USDA threatens to withhold funding.

    The second wave of their great plan is to microchip every animal. All animal movements, whether you have an escaped rabbit or leave to go to a dog or horse show will need to be called in and logged in their “database”…though they don’t say who owns the database and who will pay the fees to maintain it.

    Never mind that many registered animals: goats, rabbits, etc are already permanently tattooed. Never mind that chips have a tendency to migrate through the body and you end up re-chipping the animal.

    Just example of a good idea gone wrong…
    I’d fight not to have my DNA put on file…you never know what they’d decide to use it for.


  • Plenty of clearer heads than mine have already pointed out the many, many problems with an all-inclusive DNA database, so I’ll just say NO.


    Just, no.


  • Kat
    March 2
    10:30 am

    I’m also too paranoid. I don’t even like biometrics, and I resent that I have to have it done if I ever go to the US. The potential for and consequences of a breach in security for the systems storing this information are just too great for comfort. DNA can be planted, if I’m not mistaken. Might not be easy, but imagine having to defend yourself against that kind of evidence? No, thanks.


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment