Do People Have a Reasonable Expectation of Privacy in Abandoned DNA?

Information privacy lawyer Dan Solove has a commentary on the recent news article in the New York Times, “Lawyers Fight DNA Samples Gained on Sly,” in which he writes:

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DNA is sensitive information in many people’s books, but it is also very hard to keep contained. We leave traces of DNA everywhere we go — in hair and skin we shed, in saliva, etc. It is quite easy for law enforcement officials to obtain our DNA.

DNA is one illustration of where the current Fourth Amendment regime doesn’t work very well with information privacy. It works well with papers and things — we can hide papers away in our homes or in bags, and we can have protection in our homes. But information in today’s Information Age often is hard to contain. It is hard to tuck away. The result is that our personal information is increasingly in places where the police no longer need warrants and probable cause.

Read the full commentary at Concurring Opinions

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