The FBI has been busily collecting DNA samples from millions of Americans just as China is doing, compiling a massive database that could lead to a dystopian scenario that has nightmarish implications.
(Video Credit: Breaking Points)
Rights and privacy are on the verge of going extinct in the United States. Investigators show that the FBI has collected 21.7 million DNA profiles which amounts to about 7 percent of the population, according to Bureau data that was reviewed by The Intercept. They are doing it in the name of law enforcement, but the information and data could easily be used against those who fall out of favor with the federal government.
DNA data is not only used in criminal cases, it reveals many things about a person’s history, lifestyle, and healthcare needs. All of that can be used to manipulate the masses.
“The FBI aims to nearly double its current $56.7 million budget for dealing with its DNA catalog with an additional $53.1 million, according to its budget request for fiscal year 2024. ‘The requested resources will allow the FBI to process the rapidly increasing number of DNA samples collected by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security,’ the appeal for an increase says,” the investigative media outlet reported.
“In an April 2023 statement submitted to Congress to explain the budget request, FBI Director Christopher Wray cited several factors that had ‘significantly expanded the DNA processing requirements of the FBI.’ He said the FBI collected around 90,000 samples a month — ‘over 10 times the historical sample volume’ — and expected that number to swell to about 120,000 a month, totaling about 1.5 million new DNA samples a year,” The Intercept continued.
“The FBI has amassed 21.7 million DNA profiles — equivalent to about 7 percent of the U.S. population — according to Bureau data reviewed by The Intercept.”https://t.co/VvPYOwP1yh
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) August 29, 2023
Most Americans are unaware of the huge DNA database being kept by the FBI. The hoovering up of DNA data is of great concern to civil liberties advocates.
“When we’re talking about rapid expansion like this, it’s getting us ever closer to a universal DNA database,” Vera Eidelman, who is a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union and specializes in genetic privacy, told The Intercept in an interview. “I think the civil liberties implications here are significant.”
“When surveillance technology gets cheaper, easier, and faster to use,” she contended, “it tends to get used more — often in ways that are troubling.”
“A universal database really just would subvert our ideas of autonomy and freedom and the presumption of innocence. It would be saying that it makes sense for the government to track us at any time based on our private information,” Eidelman asserted. “Our DNA is personal and sensitive: It can expose our propensity for serious health conditions, family members, and ancestry.”
— HalalFlow (@halalflow) August 31, 2023
“The rapid growth of the FBI’s sample load is in large part thanks to a Trump-era rule change that mandated the collection of DNA from migrants who were arrested or detained by immigration authorities,” The Intercept noted.
The FBI’s rush to collect DNA began as early as 1990. A national database called the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS, was in place by 1998 and spans the entire country.
“If you look back at when CODIS was established, it was originally for violent or sexual offenders,” Anna Lewis, a Harvard researcher who specializes in the ethical implications of genetics research, told The Intercept in an interview. “The ACLU warned that this was going to be a slippery slope, and that’s indeed what we’ve seen.”
“Just by breathing, you’re discarding DNA in a way that can be traced back to you,” she said.
And how many eye retina scans, facial scans and finger prints do they have on file? If you own a gun or fly the FBI probably has all 3.
— Matt Sweetwood (@MSweetwood) August 29, 2023
In May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) posted a contract for laboratory services to assist with “autonomously collected eDNA testing,” which is environmental DNA testing based on samples that are no longer manually collected. That should worry every American.
The police can now obtain DNA samples from anyone who is a felon as well. In 28 states, if you are arrested for a felony, your DNA can be taken before you are even convicted. Authorities even offer plea deals, reducing felony charges to misdemeanor offenses in exchange for DNA samples according to The Intercept.
“It changed massively,” Lewis commented. “You only have to be a person of interest to end up in these databases.”
The FBI aims to nearly double its DNA budget “to process the rapidly increasing number of DNA samples collected by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security” pic.twitter.com/dpEOk60274
— Ken Klippenstein (@kenklippenstein) August 29, 2023
“Until recently, the U.S. DNA database surpassed even that of authoritarian China, which launched an ambitious DNA collection program in 2017. That year, the BBC reported, the U.S. had about 4 percent of its population’s DNA, while China had about 3 percent. Since then, China announced a plan aimed at collecting between 5 and 10 percent of its male population’s DNA, according to a 2020 study cited by the New York Times,” The Intercept reported.
DNA processing has come a long way. With rapid DNA analysis, a DNA profile can reportedly be thrown together in one to two hours after a simple swab of someone’s inner cheek without a lab or human involvement.
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