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Illustrating my point

January 12th, 2005 . by Andy (TANcast's #1 Ear-Rapist)

I have long argued that people need to pass a test on critical thinking before they be allowed to vote. As it stands, voters (especially here in California, even several I know and love) tend to vote from emotion or whim rather than based on facts or careful examination of ALL sides of an issue.

To all the people who decided that CA Prop 69 was a good idea (even those close to my heart), I’d just like to take a moment to reiterate what I said about trusting people with your personal information.

As a quick review, this was the proposition, now passed, which will change mandatory DNA collection in the state. California previously required that DNA be collected from convicted violent felons and cataloged for matching against other past and future crimes. Now the collections rules apply to all convicted felons, all convicted sex offenders and arsonists (including those convicted of attempting to commit of either crime) regardless of class of crime, and all adults arrested for or charged with either a sex offense, murder, or voluntary manslaughter or the attempt of one of those 3 crimes. Starting in 2009 the law will also require collection from any adult charged or arrested for any felony. The rules are retroactive, too, so anyone currenly in jail, on parole, or on probation for any felony, sex offense (attempted or committed), or arson (attempted or committed) will have to submit to DNA collection and cataloging. There is no provision requiring the government to remove your DNA if you are acquitted, charges are dropped, or you are released without being charged.

This will help cast a wider net to catch violent offenders, right? This will never be misused by the government, right? DNA evidence and collection and storage are all 100% error-proof, right?

Leaving all those issues aside, I actually came to argue about the safety of the data in the system so have a look at the following news blurb:

A sophisticated computer hacker had access to servers at wireless giant T-Mobile for at least a year, which he used to monitor US Secret Service email, obtain customers’ passwords and Social Security numbers, and download candid photos taken by Sidekick users, including Hollywood celebrities, SecurityFocus has learned.

Twenty-one year-old Nicolas Jacobsen was quietly charged with the intrusions last October, after a Secret Service informant helped investigators link him to sensitive agency documents that were circulating in underground IRC chat rooms. The informant also produced evidence that Jacobsen was behind an offer to provide T-Mobile customers’ personal information to identity thieves through an Internet bulletin board, according to court records.

This is just the latest in a long history of computer intrusions, public, private, and government. Yes, Virginia, government systems get hacked, too. Now we get to run the risk of being arrested without cause and having information about out DNA stuck in a database with felons and other poor suckers, and since there is no such thing as 100% perfect security all this exceedingly personal information could be compromised by nefarious characters not employed by the state.

In a worst-case situation I can get a new Social Security Number. Where can I get new DNA?

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