The feds are building a national DNA database… And you should be terrified… In the mailbag: “The American dream is a shabby lie”…
To get a positive ID on America’s Public Enemy No. 1, in 2011, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) staged a fake hepatitis B vaccination project to collect DNA in the neighborhood where bin Laden was hiding.
CIA agents recruited a Pakistani doctor for a vaccine drive. He even started a pro-vaccine project in a poor part of town to make it look more authentic.
As British newspaper The Guardian reported at the time…
The vaccination plan was conceived after American intelligence officers tracked an al-Qaida courier, known as Abu Ahmad al-Kuwaiti [sic], to what turned out to be Bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound last summer. The agency monitored the compound by satellite and surveillance from a local CIA safe house in Abbottabad, but wanted confirmation that Bin Laden was there before mounting a risky operation inside another country.
It’s not the first time the U.S. military went after DNA samples of its enemies overseas.
That’s according to a report by Secrecy News, a publication run by the Federation of American Scientists.
In 2005, Secrecy News looked into the Joint Federal Agencies Antiterrorism DNA Database. It’s a little-known database run by the U.S. government. And as the report revealed, it contained 7,000 DNA samples from detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other targets in the War on Terror.
The U.S. military claims it wanted to create a database of terrorist DNA so it could keep track of them.
But now, the feds are bringing that technology home. They’re creating a DNA database for U.S. citizens.
And you don’t have to be a criminal to land on it.
Our mission is to bring you the truth about money, markets, and personal freedom in an age of growing censorship.
That’s why we’ve been tracking America’s Surveillance Society… And how it uses facial recognition technology to monitor law-abiding citizens under the guise of catching potential criminals.
And as we’ll show you today, the police are monitoring you in other ways, too.
The law gets its name from Rapid DNA machines. U.S. law enforcement agencies are starting to use these machines to capture near-instant DNA profiles.
These came on stream in 2010, under a program run by the FBI, the Department of Defense, and other federal agencies. And in 2012, Florida’s Palm Bay Police Department became the first police force to start using them.
These machines make DNA sampling so much more convenient than it used to be.
In the old days, it took two days for DNA profiles to come back from the lab. Rapid DNA machines are what they call “swab in – profile out.” All you need is to swab the inside of someone’s mouth… load it into a machine about the size of a desktop computer… and wait 90 minutes.
And under the Rapid DNA Act, all of those samples can now be uploaded to a national criminal DNA database run by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
You may think you’re off the hook if you’re a law-abiding citizen. But under current law, the police can ask you for a DNA sample even if they only suspect you of committing a crime.
Take Family Tree DNA. It’s one of the biggest home-testing genetic companies in the U.S. And it voluntarily allows FBI agents to search its database to solve violent crime cases.
So far, the FBI has accessed more than 1 million of the company’s customer DNA profiles. Most of these were uploaded before Family Tree customers knew about its relationship with the FBI.
And it’s not just Family Tree. If you signed up for Ancestry or 23andMe… and you didn’t read the fine print… you’re in for a surprise.
Ancestry and 23andMe are two other popular genetic-testing companies. Although they can’t own your DNA directly… they can own the rights to the sample of your DNA that you sent them.
Here’s the exact wording from Ancestry’s policy…
By submitting User Provided Content through any of the Services, you grant Ancestry a sublicensable, worldwide, royalty-free license to host, store, copy, publish, distribute, provide access to, create derivative works of, and otherwise use such User Provided Content to the extent and in the form or context we deem appropriate on or through any media or medium and with any technology or devices now known or hereafter developed or discovered.
It’s like Facebook claiming the rights to the photos you share on its platform. It doesn’t own the original photos – they’re still yours. But it owns the digital copy you uploaded. And it has the rights to use that copy however it sees fit.
As we showed you last month, the average American has given up on the idea of privacy.
That’s why so many people stay on Facebook and Google – which, as regular Daily Cut readers know, are the world’s two biggest for-profit surveillance companies.
As long as they get free email, messaging, and photo sharing… most folks are happy to be tracked 24 hours a day.
But if you value your freedom… and you want to protect what’s left of your civil liberties… you should be terrified that the FBI is building a national DNA database of U.S. citizens.
Right now, you may trust the government not to use that information against you. Most people do.
That’s why one of the things we often hear from readers is, “If I have nothing to hide, I have nothing to fear.” And it’s all well and good, so long as the laws are just… and the people enforcing them have good intentions.
But as we’ve seen throughout history – from Himmler’s Gestapo, to Beria’s KGB, and even to J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI – that’s not always the case.
There are many other ways people can use your DNA against you.
For instance, do you want your health insurance company refusing you coverage because of what it claims is a genetic marker for some disease?
Or how about your work colleague finding out about a genetic disorder because a targeted ad for a medication pops up on your office computer?
Or would you fancy a jilted lover… or some other nutcase… using your DNA profile to stalk you?
There’s not a lot you can do if the police ask you for a DNA sample. But you can use genetic home-testing kits with your eyes wide open.
Make sure you read the fine print… and understand what you’re signing up for when you agree to send back your cheek swab.
It’s fun to find out who your ancestors were. But it’s probably not worth the loss of privacy involved.
In his e-letter on Tuesday, Legacy Research cofounder Bill Bonner said “politics – whether local or national – is always a con game.”
As he put it, “Every individual is unique; every business is different; every ‘we’ is a lie.” And one of your fellow readers took issue with that…
Laissez-faire and leaving things alone is fine perhaps when the system is fair and running well for the majority of people. It’s a recipe for disaster continuing refusal to face the issue in times like these. At times, Bill, you seem to suggest nothing can be done… that every effort leads to a worse place. Human progress might be bitty, it might even evoke a hollow laugh at times, but few could argue that it has not happened. It needs will and it needs a genuine desire to confront the tiny minority who have engineered all the wealth into their own hands.
The American dream is a shabby lie when the 400 richest Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined… and while the top 1% own 43% of all the wealth. A country that’s unequal is headed for the same disaster that overtook France under Louis XVI or the last Tsar of Russia. We need radical action, before that kind of event takes place.
– Richard C.
Meanwhile, not everyone is worried about the growth of digital surveillance we’ve been tracking at The Daily Cut…
I was up in Scotland a few years ago, which uses video cams all over the place. You never see a cop and you feel safe walking down a city street late at night! It’s cheaper than police cars and police, who I’m sure hate their own video cams on their bodies. But a picture is worth a thousand words and that’s the future!
A cop car costs a fortune and one camera can do the work of 10 cops on patrol. The problem is the USA doesn’t want to move into the Digital Age. It’s the only way to go, if you’re not a criminal and the system is being administered by law-abiding police and prosecutors. Corruption of the system is the real problem. We need term limits, training in ethics, far less cronyism, and more exposure of politics!
– Tom S.
Could more surveillance be a good thing, as Tom S. says? Do you agree with Richard C. that the American Dream is a “shabby lie”? Write us at [email protected].
February 28, 2019
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