"The government's invasion into the privacy of individuals may be best illustrated in the area of genetic testing."  "The genetic surveillance and tracking represented by the federally funded Human Genome Project poses enormous threats to our basic rights to privacy and self determination."  "If everyone is tested and categorized, the potential for misuse of that information is so great that it screams for legislation to prevent genetic discrimination." 
"Genetic technologies reflect the power differentials in our society; they do not equally benefit all segments, nor are they meant to."  "Thus these technologies become social and political weapons in an already divided society." 
"Genetic surveillance would thus shift from the individual [the alleged criminal] to the family," Nicholas Wade wrote May 12, 2006, in the New York Times, "-- which will require, of course, a national DNA database of NON-criminals." 
- Genetic surveillance: "The process of identifying people who are at risk of developing a specific disease or of passing such a disease on to their children." 
- Genetic testing: "The examination of a DNA sample, to identify the structure of a specific gene to identify any significant faults (mutations)." 
Common Risks from Genetic Testing
There are some common risks which arise from genetic testing: 
- Risk to genetic privacy and confidentiality
- Risk of genetic discrimination
- Risk of creating social polarization between "the genetically advantaged and genetically disadvantaged"
- Risk of "creating a genetic surveillance society"
Related SourceWatch Resources
- data mining
- George W. Bush's domestic spying
- human genome project
- National Center for Genome Resources
- DNA Fingerprinting and Civil Liberties Project, American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics website.
- Gene Watch website.
- Privacy International website. Includes current and archived article links.
Articles by Philip Bereano
- "Don't Take Liberties with Our Genes." A version of this essay originally ran in the Seattle Times, July 17, 1997; it has been reworked and republished several times since then.
- With Richard Sclove, "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Genetic Testing," Washington Post (loka.org), March 22, 1998.
- "The politics of DNA's meaning," Tikkun, September-October 1999 (14(5):23-4, 26). PubMed Abstract.
- "Don’t Take Liberties with Our Genes," Washington Public Health, Vol. 17 Fall 2000, pp. 19–21.
Articles & Commentary
- Roxanne Mykitiuk, "The New Genetics in the Post-Keynesian State," The Canadian Women's Health Network, circa 2001.
- "Millionth DNA sample on database," BBC, November 3, 2004: "The Forensic Science Service (FSS) has celebrated loading the one millionth DNA sample on to its national database since becoming fully automated in 2001."
- "Fears over expanded DNA database," BBC, November 10, 2004: "Plans for a universal DNA database in England and Wales should be scrapped because of the threat to civil liberties, a new report urges."
- Carolyn Williams, Curriculum: "Human Cloning, Genetic Engineering and Privacy," Yale-Haven Teachers Institute, 2005.
- Merryn Ekberg, "Governing the Risks Emerging From the Non-Medical Uses of Genetic Test," Australian Journal of Emerging Technologies and Society, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2005.
- Maria João Boavida, "Portugal plans a forensic genetic database of its entire population - 2nd Part," Newropeans, April 11, 2005.
- Paul Rincon, "DNA project to trace human steps. A project spanning five continents is aiming to map the history of human migration via DNA," BBC, April 13, 2005.
- James Randerson, "DNA of 37% of Black Men Held by Police," Guardian Unlimited (UK) (American Renaissance), January 5, 2006.
- "Around the World in 800 Billion Bases. Sanger Institute Genetic Records are World's Biggest," Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, January 17, 2006: "The Trace Archive is a store of all the sequence data produced and published by the world scientific community, including the Sanger Institute's own prodigious output as a world-leading genomics institution. ... To grasp how much data is in the Archive, if it were printed out as a single line of text, it would stretch around the world more than 250 times. Printing it out on pages of A4 would produce a stack of paper two-and-a-half times as high as Mount Everest."
- "Sanger DNA Database Doubles Every 10 Months," Future Pundit, January 22, 2006.
- "Scientists launch big genetic database project. UK Biobank, to hold millions of DNA samples, data," Reuters (MSNBC), March 14, 2006.
- Cory Reiss, "VA wants DNA from veterans," The Gainesville Sun (Florida), April 23, 2006.
- Greg Palast, "The Spies Who Shag Us. The Times and USA Today have Missed the Bigger Story -- Again," BuzzFlash, May 12, 2006.
- Nicholas Wade, "Wider Use of DNA Lists Is Urged in Fighting Crime," New York Times, May 12, 2006.