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    Washington Post: U.S. Seeks Biometrics, DNA Data Exchange with Europe

    According to the Washington Post:

    The United States is negotiating deals with European countries to exchange fingerprint and DNA data in criminal and terrorist cases, and in some circumstances to transfer data on race or ethnic origin, political and religious beliefs, or sexual orientation.

    Such agreements are a condition for granting citizens of newer European Union member states the right to enter the United States without visas, and for maintaining that right for older E.U. members. U.S. citizens already enjoy such a right when traveling to Europe. […]

    The United States and the E.U. have been negotiating a separate, broad agreement on commercial data protection. But European privacy officials are concerned that the emerging bilateral pacts will not adequately protect people’s privacy. And U.S. privacy advocates are concerned about the potential transfer of sensitive information on U.S. citizens to Europe.

    There has been an increasing trend toward gathering and banking of biometrics and DNA data. In February, the FBI awarded Lockheed Martin a $1 billion, 10-year contract to build a massive biometrics database including fingerprints, iris scans and palm prints of U.S. residents. The FBI also has proposed an international biometrics database, where the US and EU countries would share data on suspects. The European Commission proposes to gather biometrics data from all tourists and business travelers.

    The Kyl Amendment to the 2006 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act authorized the collection of DNA from anyone arrested or charged for a felony or crime of violence. It also authorized the collection of DNA from any non-U.S. citizen detained by a federal agency. This means that U.S. citizens who are arrested or charged but not convicted of specified crimes will have their DNA collected. Non-U.S. citizens who are detained for any reason will have their DNA collected.

    The states are also passing broad DNA collection legislation. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports:

    Eleven states to date specify certain misdemeanors among those who must provide a DNA sample. […]

    Twelve states, Alaska, Arizona, California, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia, now have laws authorizing arrestee sampling.

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