Drop and Give Me 23 (Chromosomes)!


A suspect in a Pennsylvania muder was linked to the crime using DNA from the military's genetic database. This is the first time information from that database has led to the apprehension of a criminal suspect. My first reaction is that there isn't (or needn't be) a serious privacy issue here, since (1) at present, at least, joining the military is still a voluntary affair, and (2) they appear to have pretty stringent safeguards in place, since they claim to get thousands of DNA requests that are turned down. Still, I'd not known that such a database existed until now, and it's probably worth keeping an eye on to ensure that those safeguards stay stringent. (Via Slashdot.)

NEXT: Who do you trust? Hubba hubba hubba!

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Anyone know how far back this database goes?

  2. Presumably this DNA database is for identifying remains? I wonder what the criteria needs to be to get a request approved? Probable incineration? A rape charge? I can’t say I am opposed to a DNA database, or a fingerprint database for solving violent crimes…

  3. Re: how long this has been going on.

    I enlisted in late 1993 and remember giving up two samples for genetic identification. FWIW, you’d have to be only moderately to slightly alert to realize this was happening: it wasn’t like they came in the night and extracted the samples while we lay sleeping. The little envelopes we put the samples in explained what they were for, and the drill sergeants did, too.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.