That seems to be the pervasive logic of an increasing number of government officials and agencies that have forgotten the uniquely American legal principle of being presumed innocent until proven guilty. How else to explain the acceptance and widespread employment of technology that gathers potential evidence on everyone indiscriminately, whether they’ve been suspected of creating a crime or not?
According to the Electronic Freedom Frontier, a group that advocates for privacy rights in the digital age, “In the amount of time it takes to get lunch, the government can now collect your DNA and extract a profile that identifies you and your family members” using a device called a Rapid DNA Analyzer, which can “process DNA in 90 minutes or less.”
Guilty until proven…innocent?
The EFF says these machines are not the imagination of science fiction writers. Rather, the group says they are “an operational reality” and are currently being marketed to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies all around the nation.
The device, according to GE Life Sciences, in conjunction with NetBio, Inc., “is a self-contained unit with all the accessories you need to conduct a full DNA analysis.” Designed for field use by non-scientific personnel, the laser printer-sized machines will soon “revolutionize the use of DNA by making it a routine identification and investigational tool.”
“Major applications include criminal forensics, military human identification, biothreat detection, and clinical diagnostics. NetBio believes that widespread use of RDA, particularly in the field and at the point of care, will improve both the safety, and health of society,” says a description of its machine by NetBio [http://netbio.com/].