The Act [text here] amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to "provide for incentive payments under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program for States to implement minimum and enhanced DNA collection processes".
Put simply, the proposed legislation authorises bonus payments to state governments for the collection and storage of genetic data from people suspected of crimes. The US Federal government would pay state governments to provide DNA samples (including drawing blood with a needle rather than 'spit collection' or mouth swabs) from adults "arrested for" certain serious crimes. Funding for that "incentivization" is reported as US$75 million. The data will be added to the FBI Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).
The legislation provides that the people whose data is collected would be at least 18 years of age. They would have been arrested for, charged with, or indicted for a criminal offense under State law that -
As you might expect, it's praise the CSI and pass the resolution, with Rep. Harry Teague of New Mexico (a cosponsor of 'Katie's Law') claiming that -
- consists of murder or voluntary manslaughter or any attempt to commit murder or voluntary manslaughter.
- has an element involving a sexual act or sexual contact with another and that is punishable by imprisonment for more than 5 years, or an attempt to commit such an offense
- has an element of kidnaping or abduction punishable by imprisonment for 5 years or more
- has an element involving a sexual act or sexual contact with another and that is punishable by imprisonment for more than 1 year, or an attempt to commit such an offense
- consists of a specified offense against a minor (as defined in section 111(7) of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (42 U.S.C. 16911(7)), or an attempt to commit such an offense
- consists of burglary or any attempt to commit burglary.
- consists of aggravated assault.
We should allow law enforcement to use all the technology available to them ... to reduce expensive and unjust false convictions, bring closure to victims by solving cold cases, better identify criminals, and keep those who commit violent crime from walking the streets.Criticisms encompass claims that establishment of a national DNA database of suspected criminals would be regressive step, with concerns about ethnic or behavioural profiling, an "unwarranted certainty about the reliability of genetic information", problems with correction of data and with removal of information from the database.
The associated legislation thus provides that the Director of the FBI shall
promptly expunge from the index ... the DNA analysis of a person included in the index —A State "shall promptly expunge from that index the DNA analysis of a person included in the index by that State" if —
(i) on the basis of conviction for a qualifying Federal offense or a qualifying District of Columbia offense ... if the Director receives, for each conviction of the person of a qualifying offense, a certified copy of a final court order establishing that such conviction has been overturned; or
(ii) on the basis of an arrest under the authority of the United States, if the Attorney General receives, for each charge against the person on the basis of which the analysis was or could have been included in the index, a certified copy of a final court order establishing that such charge has been dismissed or has resulted in an acquittal or that no charge was filed within the applicable time period.
(i) the responsible agency or official of that State receives, for each conviction of the person of an offense on the basis of which that analysis was or could have been included in the index, a certified copy of a final court order establishing that such conviction has been overturned; or
(ii) the person has not been convicted of an offense on the basis of which that analysis was or could have been included in the index, and the responsible agency or official of that State receives, for each charge against the person on the basis of which the analysis was or could have been included in the index, a certified copy of a final court order establishing that such charge has been dismissed or has resulted in an acquittal or that no charge was filed within the applicable time period.'Predictive Genetic Information and Access to Life Assurance: The Poverty of ‘Genetic Exceptionalism’' by James Mittra in (2007) 2(3) Bio Societies 349-373 comments
Concern that advances in predictive genetic testing might result in increased numbers of individuals being denied access to life assurance has led many countries to restrict insurers’ historic ‘right to underwrite’. Critics of the insurance industry present genetic discrimination as a threat to the social values of equality and inclusion. However, by unpacking the foundational principles of private insurance, and adopting a more critical approach to genetic information, discrimination, fairness and inclusion, this article suggests that the normative values underpinning life assurance in Britain are unlikely to engender widespread exclusion in an age of increased genetic knowledge, but over-regulation of industry might itself create unacceptable inequity within the market. This suggests that we ought to link the legitimacy of regulatory constraint to the type of social good particular forms of insurance exemplify, and instead of focusing narrowly on genetic information consider the broader implications of risk assessment for the privatization of welfare.'Genetics is not the issue’: Insurers on genetics and life insurance' by Ine Van Hoyweghen, Klasien Horstman and Rita Schepers in (2005) 24(1) New Genetics and Society 79-98 comments
This article offers an analysis of the way private insurers deal with the issue of genetics and insurance. Drawing on specific written insurance sources, a reconstruction is made of internal debates on genetics and insurance within the private insurance world in Europe and the United States. The article starts by analyzing the way insurers initially framed the issue of genetics. It proceeds by showing how ideas with respect to this issue developed beyond public policy debates in the nineties. Although not a strictly linear development, a trend towards a change in perspective can be demonstrated: at the beginning most insurance companies took another stance than they do nowadays. The article concludes by questioning the effect of these changes within the insurance world for the definition of the problem with respect to genetics and insurance. Does taking into account the public concerns around genetics also include taking genetics as a public problem?'Evidence-based underwriting in the molecular age: the politics of reinsurance companies towards the genetics issue' by Ine Van Hoyweghen and Klasien Horstman in (2009) 28(4) New Genetics and Society 317-337 comments
One of the most contentious topics in public policy debates on genetics has been the use of genetic information by private insurance companies. Confronted with legislation prohibiting the use of genetics in private insurance, the insurance industry has been prompted to deal proactively with the issue. One central feature of this change in tactics is the investment in “evidence-based underwriting”, currently promoted by transnational reinsurance companies. This strategy should contribute to de-politicizing the genetics issue in insurance. Drawing on fieldwork in reinsurance companies and in the broader field of insurance, this article analyzes how reinsurance companies deal with this strategy of evidence-based underwriting and whether it has delivered on its promises. Making use of the theoretical work of Barry and others on the politics of calculation in transnational technical zones, we show how the explicit goal of evidence-based underwriting by reinsurance companies helps to reveal uncertainty in life underwriting, which in turn stimulates new contestation and discussion over the issue of genetics and, more generally, the life underwriting process. In fact, it seems that the turn towards evidence-based underwriting standards has provoked new sources of politicization. While the intentions of evidence-based underwriting strategies are to de-politicize the genetics issue, the effects of this politics of calculation may appear to be political (again).