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US expanding DNA data collection to all federal arrestees

[JURIST] The US government will begin collecting DNA samples [JURIST report] from every person arrested under federal laws, a Department of Justice spokesman said Wednesday. Federal agencies are authorized to collect DNA samples under a 2006 amendment [PDF text] to the Violence Against Women Act, but previously had only collected DNA from people actually convicted of federal crimes. About 1.2 million additional people could be added to the FBI's Combined DNA Indexing System (CODIS) [official website; FBI backgrounder, PDF] every year under the expansion, although people who are not convicted can request the destruction [WP report] of their DNA samples. Supporters of the new measures say the expanded database will help prevent crime, but civil rights groups have expressed privacy concerns. The law will soon be published in the Federal Register and will then be subject to a 30-day comment period. AP has more.

Thirteen states have implemented policies similar to the new federal policy. In November 2007, The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled [JURIST report] that all convicted federal felons must provide DNA samples to a federal database available to police departments throughout the country. In 2005, the Third Circuit ruled [JURIST report] that a convicted bank robber had to submit DNA samples to CODIS. A New Jersey state appeals court upheld a comparable state law [JURIST report] in 2005.

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