« ETA leader captured in France | Main | U.S. Citizens caught up in immigration sweeps »

DNA database expanding causes privacy concerns

Law enforcement officials are expanding their database of DNA records to include people who have been arrested or detained but not necessarily convicted, the New York Times reported Saturday.

Only convicts were tracked using DNA technology in the past, but this month the FBI will join 15 states in collecting DNA samples of those awaiting trial and detained immigrants.

The growth rate of the DNA database is expected to grow 17-fold by 2012, from 80,000 new entries to 1.2 million.

“Over time more and more crimes of decreasing severity have been added to the database. Cops and prosecutors like it because it gives everybody more information and creates a new suspect pool," said Harry Levine, a professor of sociology at City University of New York who studies policy trends.

Minors are required to provide DNA samples in 35 states upon conviciton. Only some states require minors to provide samples upon arrest.

Three minors have made the only constitutional challenge to taking DNA at the time of arrest.