WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US law enforcement should not be able to collect and analyse inadvertently shed DNA without a search warrant, the digital watchdog Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said in a press release.
“Allowing police the limitless ability to collect and search genetic material will usher in a future where DNA may be collected from any person at any time, entered into and checked against DNA databases, and used to conduct pervasive surveillance,” EFF Senior Staff Attorney Jennifer Lynch said in the press release on Wednesday.
Human beings shed hundreds of thousands of skin and hair cells daily that contain vast amounts of genetic information, Lynch said. This information should receive the full protection of the Constitution against unreasonable searches and seizures, she added.
In 2008, Maryland police lacked probable cause to arrest suspected rapist Glenn Raynor, according to the EFF. Officers swabbed skin cells from Raynor’s armrest after a police interview, and a crime lab matched his DNA with crime scene samples. Eventually, Raynor was charged with first-degree rape, the EFF explained.
Earlier this week, the EFF filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to hear the Raynor case to ensure people retain their Fourth Amendment right to privacy when it comes to genetic material.
The EFF is a digital and technology civil rights group based in San Francisco, California, which champions privacy, free expression, grassroots activism, and technology development.