How many rights does an individual have in any given society? That’s the primary question that must be answered in the subject of DNA profiling. Although this practice can help to find a higher level of justice, it may also invade on the rights of every private citizen. Law enforcement agencies today are asking people to voluntarily give them DNA so that they can be excluded from criminal investigations. If someone refuses a volunteer donation, there is almost always an automatic assumption of guilt. What else could the future be for this scientific identification method?
When it comes DNA profiling, there are certainly some pros and cons that must be weighed when considering the value of this practice. Here is a look at both sides of the equation.
The Pros of DNA Profiling
1. DNA profiling is not invasive.
Taking a sample of DNA can be as simple as swabbing the inside of a cheek with a cotton swab. Compare this to the older methods of obtaining DNA that came from blood samples, and there is less pain and discomfort involved with the practice.
2. It can reduce the amount of wrongful convictions that occur.
In any given year, about a dozen people are exonerated from a guilty conviction for a serious crime because their DNA did not match the DNA of the suspect committed the crime. According to FBI research, since DNA profiling became standard in 1989, the primary suspect in sexual assault cases has been excluded in 1 out of every 4 investigations.
3. It eliminates the possibility of manipulation.
DNA profiling can also be used to determine who the parent of a child are. In the past, paternity cases were often settled based on a propensity of evidence about who the parent was supposed to be. Thanks to this technology, parents can be confirmed so that proper court awards can be handed out.
The Cons of DNA Profiling
1. There is a lack of privacy.
You have to let someone into your intimate circle for them to be able to take a proper DNA sample. This means that there is no way to maintain your overall privacy during this procedure. Because there is such a lack of privacy, some believe that the practice could be a violation of their own civil liberties.
2. The data could be hacked.
We’ve already seen what can happen when millions of user profiles are hacked from retail store and payment information is stolen. Now imagine what could happen if a database that held store DNA profiles was hacked and used for criminal gain. It would take identity theft to a whole new level.
3. It can easily be manipulated.
Because the average person sees DNA as a 100% irrefutable science for identification, that data can be manipulated by someone to make others that something has happened when it really has not. No practice is 100% perfect. Whenever humans are involved, there is a possibility for error.
DNA profiling has helped to free a lot of innocent people over the years and that’s a great thing. What we need to ask ourselves is this: how far do we want DNA profiling to go? By weighing the pros and cons of it, we can find a compromise that will work for all of us.