Thursday, February 08, 2007

Down on the ACLU

I instinctively support the ACLU, but an NPR program yesterday put that support in doubt. In Warren Olney's To the Point, an ACLU representative talked against mandatory DNA testing for people indicted by the police. Imagine the level of private information the government will have, she said, they will now know your genetic profile, the diseases you had or may have, your mental health record... Private information...

Then along came a forensic expert, and explained that DNA testing doesn't do any of that. It comes up with a unique 26 digit number that characterizes your genetic markers just like a fingerprint can uniquely identify you. The number doesn't say anything about diseases, hair color, personality, etc. It's just a uniquely identifying number.

And here was the rub. The ACLU representative essentially acknowledged that she knew that. Of course she did. Anyone looking into the subject for more than 15 minutes would know that. She was just hyperbolizing. Or on another work, using demagogy to scare people.

I have no problem with someone objecting to DNA testing. I personally think it should be done, it's the 21st century equivalent of fingerprinting, and I don't object to fingerprinting, but I can accept a difference of opinion. What really irked me is the outright lying. No further ACLU donations from me...

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