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It may be argued that fighting crime would be made very much easier if everyone was required to have their DNA registered, so that DNA found at the scene of a crime could always be matched to an individual. Would you support such a change in the law? If not, is it justifiable to register anyone’s DNA, and, if so, on what grounds?
People should not have to have their DNA registered because the reduction of indivudial Liberty alongside the risk that a person’s DNA might be misused do not outweigh the increased chance that criminals will be convicted for their crimes. On the other hand, criminals often reoffend, therefore, their DNA should be held by the government because the benefits of catching more criminals do outweigh the risks. In addition, when criminals commit crimes their liberties are relinquished because they have decided to harm the society which grants them liberty. This means that collecting their DNA can be justified .
The government should have no intrinsic right to collect personal data (such as DNA) from individuals because this would set a dangerous precedent. A governments purpose should be to only regulate and restrict individuals where it is necessary to promote security, fairness and the rule of law. This is because the government does not own its citizens and, therefore, has no right to unnecessarily take information from individuals. Most individuals will not commit crimes in their lifetime, thus, collecting their DNA will have little benefit as it will likely never be used by the government to promote security, fairness or the rule of law.
Another reason why the government should not collect DNA from all individuals is because of the risk of misuse with the data. If the government was to collect DNA from individuals, then there is an increased risk that DNA could be stolen by hackers or by leaders misusing their power. This is problematic because the DNA could be planted at the scenes of crimes which would lead to innocent individuals being accused of crimes that they did not commit. Not only could this be detrimental to the quality of life experienced by individuals (as being wrongly accused of a crime clearly has a negative effect on quality of life), it could lead to more crimes being unsolved. This is because if DNA was to be planted at crime scenes, a probable doubt is given in a case as there is an increased chance that the defendant did not commit a crime if there is another person’s DNA found at the crime scene. Therefore, everyone should not be required to give their DNA to the government because of the risks that it could be misused.
It could be argued that collecting DNA from all individuals would lead to more successful convictions. This is because any DNA left at a crime scene could be easily matched to the individual who committed the crime. This is in contrast to the current issue of finding DNA at a crime scene that can’t be matched to any individual as their DNA has never been recorded before. Furthermore, it could be argued that this would act as a deterrent for criminals because there is an increased chance that they would be caught after committing a crime as their DNA would be on a government database. While this may be the case, DNA should not be collected on a mass scale because the majority of individuals will not commit a serious crime in their lifetime. This means that the benefit of holding DNA on a mass scale could not outweigh the risks and dissadvantages such as the risk of DNA being misused and the lack of individual liberty.
While that may be the case for the majority of the population, DNA should still be held in the case of criminals because of the large number of criminals that reoffend. Currently, nearly 30% of people with a previous conviction will recommit a crime. It could be argued that this tips the scales in favour of collecting the DNA because the argument that few individuals will actually commit a crime is diminished. As a result, the risks of collecting DNA from criminals do outweigh the benefits as there is an increased likelihood that the extra DNA collected will result in more convictions. In addition, it can be argued that by committing crimes, criminals are relinquishing their rights to participate in normal society and, thus, are consenting to their DNA being held by the government in the same way that a criminal knows that prison will be the likely consequence of a crime being committed. Therefore, a government collecting DNA from individuals who have committed a crime can be justified because it has a greater chance of being of use and a criminal relinquishes their rights to liberty when they commit a crime.
In conclusion, indivudials’ DNA should not be registered by the government because, intrinsically, it should not have the right to hold personal data on an individual without a specific benefit. Moreover, there is a risk that data collected could be misused by the government or stolen. It can be argued that crimes could be easier solved if everyone’s DNA was collected, however, most people do not commit serious offences in their lives; therefore, the benefit to holding data would not outweigh the risk of data being misused. On the other hand, criminals do often reoffend, thus, a government should have the right to collect their DNA because the benefit would outweigh the risk of the data being misused.
Thanks so much