Opinions
the Gauntlet

Tony Blair is watching your children

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Despite the apparent controversy, profiling of DNA within the country has lead to a quadrupling of crimes solved through using this DNA technology.

Nobody likes to be watched or monitored all the time, and if the issue was 24,000 miniature webcams to be installed in the bathrooms of the public, the controversy would be understandable, but DNA storage? Oh, for shame! How dare the government hang on to one of 1.5 million skin cells I shed per hour! How atrocious that they scoop up one of the 40 hairs I shed every day! The nerve of them, swabbing my freshly used urinal! The fact is, from your saliva and sweat to your flaky, flaky dandruff, your precious DNA is already hurling itself all over the planet. The fact that a government is storing a little piece of it shouldn't keep you awake at night. Of course, new information about the government storing any sort of information about its citizens is always greated with a cautious "Oh, really?" Even so, as many as 15,000 non-criminals have volunteered to have their DNA stored, often victims of crimes, or just general do-gooders.

While some disapprove of the British government storing the samples, believing it implies a guilty until proven innocent mentality, the fact is that by doing so they're putting criminals behind bars 500 per cent more effectively. It's a trade off. Will you allow the government to hang on to your bloody Kleenexes in exchange for having the bastard who busted into your beloved purple Neon with the custom daisy duke horn brought to justice?

Granted, the British government should have been more upfront with its database. In fact, I do believe that the idea of building the database should be passed along through Parliament and voted upon, letting the people have their say. Bring it into the public, and let people know what's happening so that you can be kept accountable for the information you collect. Anything done in stealth automatically receives a negative response from the public, no matter how good an idea it is. That being said, anyone opposed to the notion of having DNA stored should consider this: DNA is not like a camera or recording device nudging its invasive lens into your privacy, it doesn't report your income, or what late-night television you indulge in. In fact, you release more information about your present life when you give Martha the toothless 75-year-old Safeway cashier your postal code, from which everything from your ethnicity and lifestyle to your marital status can be deduced with relative ease and sold to marketing firms in the blink of an eye. Storage of DNA is not illegal, and allows you to live an undisturbed life unless your career dreams are of being an international hitman or cat burglar, which, while novel aspirations, aren't generally good for the public. Some children do grow up to be criminals. Most, thankfully, do not. But DNA databases are one of few proactive measures against crime a government can take without actively monitoring the daily lives of its citizens. If the next story out of the U.K. is about a top-secret government cloning agency, or a test-tube baby breeding ground, then we have cause for alarm. Until then, stop being paranoid, don't commit any felonies and grab up some Head N' Shoulders for that dandruff problem.

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