Well, there is always more news, not good news, but news…
There is a vast DNA data bank that has been slowly been being built up in the US. Initially like all things it was supposed to be used for something good and now it’s expanding…big surprise.
Some things that make me just a little bit uneasy about it?
Let’s start with these things from the article listed above:
Brimming with the genetic patterns of more than 3 million Americans, the nation’s databank of DNA “fingerprints” is growing by more than 80,000 people every month, giving police an unprecedented crime-fighting tool but prompting warnings that the expansion threatens constitutional privacy protections.
With little public debate, state and federal rules for cataloging DNA have broadened in recent years to include not only violent felons, as was originally the case, but also perpetrators of minor crimes and even people who have been arrested but not convicted.
Sometimes authorities need access to those samples to make sure an old analysis was done correctly, said Thomas Callaghan, who oversees the FBI database. The agency also wants to be able to use new DNA identification methods on older samples as the science improves.
Oh, and this on page 2:
At least 38 states now have laws to collect DNA from people found guilty of misdemeanors, in some cases for such crimes as shoplifting and fortunetelling. At least 28 now collect from juvenile offenders, too, according to information presented last month at a Boston symposium on DNA and civil liberties, organized by the American Society of Law, Medicine and Ethics.
The federal government and five states, including Virginia, go further, allowing DNA scans of people arrested. At least four other states plan to do so this year, and California will start in 2009.
And let’s not forget this one on page 4:
“We already take blood from every newborn to perform government-mandated tests . . . so the right to take a sample has already been decided,” Asplen said. “And we have a precedent for the government to maintain an identifying number of a person.”
And then there is another set of data breaches to top this wonderful news off…I think we already covered the Sacred Heart one earlier, but this Texas Guaranteed one we hadn’t mentioned yet and it’s a big one too.
Advocates for strong data privacy laws are getting plenty of ammunition to support their cause these days.
In yet another large data breach, Texas Guaranteed (TG) a Round Rock, Texas-based nonprofit organization that administers student loans today announced that an outside contractor had lost an unspecified piece of equipment containing the names and Social Security numbers of approximately 1.3 million borrowers.
Between all the previous data breaches just since the ChoicePoint ‘incident’ (privacyrights.org numbers likely due to go up soon since they haven’t updated the numbers since May 24th) alone till now, the numbers are staggering!
Between the data breaches to date, the continuation of pushing for centralized NATIONAL databases/databanks for Real ID and of course this DNA data bank, is it little wonder that anyone with a little imagination and reasoning skills might be just a tad worried about this???
Another area that is of concern is the move toward total religious intolerance … of ANYONE with ANY ‘belief system’ and denoting it as some sort of lunacy. Granted there are some people who try to push their belief system on others and this is way wrong, but to ‘demonize’ all who have a ‘belief system’ of any kind is just as intolerant as what these folks are saying they are against!
I can certainly understand concerns about some folks’ belief systems that are abused to excuse violence, make a buck, even make political leaders seem like better people than they may actually be, but to blanket everyone who has a belief system as dangerous … I don’t know, seems abit over the top and dangerous in itself. And it’s certain that some political leaders have said and done some things to actually make this stance seem somehow right….
But there are many in all faiths who do not push their belief system on others .. they simply live their lives purposely doing no harm to anyone, nor do they do any physical damage to anything. But, somehow this is still lunacy…just having a belief system at all?
Doesn’t that in itself qualify as intolerance?
Maybe a look at what happened during the Holocaust and also some who helped make that happen more efficiently might help….
The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. â€œHolocaustâ€ is a word of Greek origin meaning â€œsacrifice by fire.â€ The Nazis, who came to power in Germany in January 1933, believed that Germans were â€œracially superiorâ€ and that the Jews, deemed â€œinferior,â€ were â€œlife unworthy of life.â€ During the era of the Holocaust, the Nazis also targeted other groups because of their perceived â€œracial inferiorityâ€: Roma (Gypsies), the handicapped, and some of the Slavic peoples (Poles, Russians, and others). Other groups were persecuted on political and behavioral grounds, among them Communists, Socialists, Jehovahâ€™s Witnesses, and homosexuals.
And another nugget to think about from a BusinessOnline article regarding the role of a US corporation under the guise of just doing business, nothing personal during the Holocaust:
REQUIRED READING. But even if the charge against Watson isnâ€™t genocide, he knowingly did business with an evil regime, justifying his decision for three years as business, pure and simple. Watson, if he were alive today, would defend himself by saying that his first duty is to his shareholders. How many times do we hear CEOs use that line while laying off workers, investing in sweatshops, or monopolizing a market?
Thatâ€™s why Blackâ€™s book is so enlightening: It paints a richly textured picture of how a man, and an entire company, can ignore all sense of morality while not once transgressing the lines of business ethics. If nothing else, this book should be required reading for every first-year MBA student.
As you might imagine, IBM has strongly disputed many of Blackâ€™s allegations. And one very simple argument in IBMâ€™s favor is that â€œpunch cards didnâ€™t commit genocide in Europe; people did.â€ That is absolutely true. People following orders activated the showers at Auschwitz, pulled the triggers at Babi Yar, and operated IBM punch-card tabulators in Dachau.
But thereâ€™s another lesson from my childhood about my grandfather that has stayed with me all these years. It involves the importance of sometimes breaking rules for a greater good. If only all of those people had simply ignored their orders during the Holocaust. If only Thomas Watson had placed humanityâ€™s needs above those of his shareholders.
Intolerance of any kind, whether it is ethnic/racial, religious, political, sexual gender or orientation, etc. is what’s dangerous.