Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Where are you when we need you, Philip K. Dick?

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Check out this story in the NY Times: As Scalia (! of all people!) warned, allowing collection of DNA samples as a routine procedure in booking an arrest is a true game-changer.

Here’s the line of development that brought Dick to mind: First, the idea that there will be a national database—quickly followed by an international database—of the DNA data for each citizen is obvious. The data are already digitized, and digital storage is cheap enough—plus those data can be much compressed, I would think. So you have a bunch of digital records to manage, and that means a database. And for ease of search and storage—i.e., to save money—standard formats and interchanges will be established, with the data in the cloud, being updated continually in real time, with each query either matching an existing record or creating a new record.

That is, when you are arrested, just taking your DNA will search the database and create a record for you if none exists; and if one does, your full profile is at the fingertips of the arresting officer on the spot.

You see where this is going: technology advances and soon enough (one decade? two? less?) there will be portable DNA analyzers—small enough to fit into a police vehicle. Run the swab, tuck it in, wait a few minutes, and read the person’s full background—IF they’ve been arrested before.

That would be the problem: all those people not previously arrested. They get pulled over, the test is run, and no matches.

So the next step is to collect DNA on everyone—or almost everyone. Say, getting a driver’s license requires a DNA sample (“so the body can be identified in case of a bad traffic accident,” say). That would pull in enough.

So now the field matches pretty much always include a full profile of information about the person. But it’s sort of static information: nothing about where he’s been in the last few days, for example.

We have to assume here that computers are faster, bandwidths greater, and cloud access immediate, but: it occurs to people that with strategically-placed DNA detectors

Written by LeisureGuy

22 June 2013 at 11:40 am

Posted in Daily life

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