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researches removes DNA from a test tube.

California is being sued over its DNA collection practices, and the only thing that’s surprising is how long it took. In 2004, state voters passed Proposition 69, which requires authorities to collect DNA from anyone arrested for a felony. The person’s DNA profile is then uploaded to the national Combined DNA Index System.

Police and other law enforcement agencies around the country love the database, because it allows them to share information, generate leads, and connect the dots between crimes.

These are important functions, and DNA databases have been a breakthrough tool for law enforcement. In California, police agencies have used DNA databases to find the perpetrators of horrific crimes like the Gypsy Hill Killings.

But as we pointed out in 2004, there’s always been one huge flaw with Prop. 69: the size of the net it casts.

Prop. 69 requires DNA collection for anyone who’s been arrested for a felony, not convicted of a felony.

What that effectively means is that law enforcement agencies are allowed to keep the genetic profiles of thousands of people who have...

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