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Swabbing suspects

"Swabbing suspects" Continued...

In 2011, out of 10,666 DNA samples taken in Maryland, 19 led to arrests after being matched to other cases. Advocacy groups for victims of crimes support DNA collection as a cutting-edge way of apprehending criminals and exonerating innocent people accused of crimes—a tool for serving justice to victims’ families, who often wait years to bring closure to cold cases.

The state and federal databases find matches using a limited set of DNA data points, and don’t store personal information like names. But some privacy rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, worry the government’s growing collection of DNA could lead to misuse. Not all states expunge arrestee DNA samples from their databases when the person is later acquitted of charges.

Daniel James Devine
Daniel James Devine

Daniel is a reporter for WORLD who covers science, technology, and other topics in the Midwest from his home base in Indiana. Follow Daniel on Twitter @DanJamDevine.

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