DNA Database Pros and Cons

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One of the essential components of the world’s justice system today is the collection of DNA. The fragments of skin particles and other bodily substances or fluids can be analyzed to definitely prove if someone was present when a crime was committed. Once DNA profiles have been created from collected substances, they can be stored in a database to be compared to future samples that might be taken.

Some say a DNA database is critical to the protection of the general society. Others say that it is an invasion of privacy. What are the pros and cons of maintaining a DNA database?

What Are the Pros of a DNA Database?

1. It provides more certainty to the case against a defendant.
Many crimes boil down to what is considered a he said/she said debate that a jury must decide upon. If DNA evidence is available in that case, the certainty of evidence against a defendant becomes much stronger and can help to make sure guilty parties instead of innocent ones are put behind bars.

2. It helps to keep society safer.
With DNA being collected in a database, all samples can be registered and compared to previous samples that have been previously entered. This can help to identify who the perpetrator of a crime might be so that law enforcement officials can get them off the street much more quickly.

3. Unless evidence is collected at a crime scene or volunteered, a person’s DNA profile remains their own.
DNA collection is generally obtained by a warrant or by volunteering the information. Sometimes property in the public domain, such as trash at the curbside or in a dumpster, can be used to collect this evidence as well, but that is not common. This means that most people will never have their DNA collected or registered into the database unless they want it to be.

What Are the Cons of a DNA Database?

1. It could be hacked and the information used for alternative purposes.
Anything that is on a database is susceptible to hacking in some form. Hackers could get into the database and manipulate the DNA data to serve their own purposes. Some might even locate the individuals with profiles on the database and blackmail them because of the information they have.

2. Information is stored whenever samples are created.
When volunteers offer their DNA to exclude them from a crime, they might not know that their profile may be included on a national database that keeps personal information about them. This means that people who are innocent of a crime might still be treated like a criminal by law enforcement personnel just because their DNA profile has been established.

3. It isn’t 100% accurate.
Although the odds of someone having duplicate DNA are estimated to be billions to one, there is still the fact that a DNA profile is not 100% accurate. Humans are part of the scientific process and are fallible creatures. Just because someone hasn’t been found to have duplicated DNA yet doesn’t mean that it won’t happen at some point.

A DNA database can help to keep people safe. It might also expose their personal information in unintended ways. That’s why weighing the pros and cons of such a database is so important.