Arizona wants to create a DNA database for care facilities and charge people for it, that’s a problem
According to Newsweek, a proposed Arizona Senate bill would require anyone who provides direct care in facilities for the intellectually disabled to provide DNA in order to apply or renew licenses or certifications. Previously they only had to be fingerprinted. The bill was met with outrage by activists who point out that this is a vast expansion of the surveillance state and an invasion of privacy.
Arizona already has a DNA database for anyone who commits crimes, in which DNA is stored for 35 years. If a conviction is overturned, a person could request their sample be removed.
The new bill was drafted after a woman with intellectual disabilities was impregnated by a nurse who raped her while she was unconscious. After pushback, it was amended to require DNA only of those who worked in the facilities, instead of also volunteers and the deceased, as the original draft stated. People can be charged up to $250 for their DNA, which is also linked to their name, date of birth, last known address, and social security number if it is available.
There are already states with more intrusive laws on the books. For example, California allows the police to collect DNA from anyone who is merely suspected of committing a felony, and given law enforcement’s selective enforcement of the law as it relates to Black people, this most likely means there is an outsized number of Black people’s DNA on file. That law was challenged last year but was upheld in a 4-3 vote. And even though the law officially says that those who have not been convicted can later have their DNA removed from the program, in actual practice, this process is long, arduous and complicated.
In addition, some corporations which deal privately in DNA testing have agreed to share DNA with the police. 23andMe claims that it “chooses to use all practical legal and administrative resources to resist requests from law enforcement, and we do not share customer data with any public databases, or with entities that may increase the risk of law enforcement access. In certain circumstances, however, 23andMe may be required by law to comply with a valid court order, subpoena, or search warrant for genetic or personal information.”