Monday, February 22nd, 2010
Just help yourself, government. Don’t bother asking, it’s not as though we (or our children) have rights anymore. You can thank Bush II for this… he signed a bill in 2008 which critics have described as the first step towards a national US DNA database. It explicitly legitimizes the use of genomic data for genetic research without the knowledge or consent of citizens. This is what happens when you don’t pay attention to what your government is doing. Oh, and this is already in place in Canada. This site leaves it to you to work through the spin and think of the future consequences of unrestricted government access to your DNA.
Flashback: The government has your baby’s DNA | UK Police routinely arresting people to get DNA, inquiry claims | UK: Police ‘must purge innocent DNA’ | Newborn’s Blood Samples Raise Questions of Privacy | Study finds genetic discrimination by insurance firms | US: Ruling allowing Taser use to get DNA may be nation’s first | UK: Police ‘arrest innocent youths for their DNA’, officer claims | UK: Fury as Commons denied vote on DNA database | Australians refused insurance because of poor genes
Mary Ann Roser, Austin American Statesman
February 22, 2010
An Austin lawyer threatened to pursue a new federal lawsuit Monday after learning that some newborn blood samples in Texas went to the U.S. military for potential use in a database for law enforcement purposes.
The Department of State Health Services never mentioned the database to Jim Harrington, director of the Texas Civil Rights Project, who settled a lawsuit in December with the state over the indefinite storage of newborn blood without parental consent, or to the American-Statesman, which first reported on the little-known blood storage practice last spring. Harrington said he thought another suit was likely unless the health department destroys the information obtained from the blood samples or obtains consent.
“This is the worst case of bad faith I have dealt with as a lawyer,” he said Monday.
Jerry Strickland, a spokesman for the Texas attorney general’s office, which represented the health department, fired back. “During this litigation, Harrington was provided accurate answers to the questions he asked,” he said.
“Once Harrington negotiated $26,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs for himself, accepted a settlement agreement and got his desired headlines, he was satisfied and dropped his lawsuit against DSHS. It appears recent media reports caused Harrington to backtrack in an effort to obscure how he chose to handle this case,” he said.
An article Monday by the Texas Tribune, a news Web site, said the state health department sent 800 anonymous samples to the military to help create a national mitochondrial DNA database. The samples were sent in 2003 and 2007, according to the department’s Web site.