Tuesday, April 08, 2008

You know that right against self incrimination? Yeah, forget about that.

One of the fundamental rights is the right against self incrimination. One of the ways that we ensure this right is by making it illegal for the government to seize your DNA without a court order - essentially a warrant. And a warrant can only be granted if there is some reasonable cause that a judge accepts as valid. The exception to this rule is if your DNA is already in a public database for any reason (for example, if offered as a condition of employment for a Federal job). Now, it appears Minnesota is ready to ensure all citizens surrender this right at birth.

According to the Citizens Council on Health care the state of Minnesota has illegally collected and claims ownership to the DNA of 780,000 children and has provided the DNA of over 42,000 children to genetic researchers without parental consent. Their report goes on to say that approximately 73,000 children are born each year in the state of Minnesota and about 4,200,000 are born in the United States of America and all of them will loose their genetic privacy and DNA ownership rights if this trend in public policy is allowed to continue.

Minnesota treats this procedure as an opt out program where parents of the newborn infant do not specifically opt out of the process, the state presumes it has informed consent and the parents have elected to allow this to happen.
This amounts to at least two seizures by the State: (1) Right against search and seizure/self incrimination by making this DNA automatically available to authorities without a warrant, and (2) Seizure of property by eminent domain since in the future, your DNA may be valuable for research or commercial use. Isn't our Constitution supposed to LIMIT government? Maybe not in the age of DNA science. Gattacca, anyone?


shadowmom1 said...

Although on the surface this can look innocuous to an innocent person, this type of information can be misused by the unscrupulous. It is a scary precedent.

CLP said...

I thought I was the only person I knew who had seen that movie. There are lots of things that have brought it to mind lately and this is certainly the scariest.