Originally published November 20 2015
California's statist government maintains DNA database of every person born since 1983 - and profits by selling genetic information to corporations
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) The statist mindset continues to pervade California government at all levels, with residents slowly discovering that they have no privacy, fewer rights than ever before, and little real control over their own lives.
The most recent outrage (to many), is the discovery that the state owns the DNA of all California natives in their 20s and early 30s.
As reported by KPIX in San Francisco, every year some 4 million newborns in the United States get a heel prick at birth to screen for lethal congenital disorders that can hopefully be successfully treated before they cause problems.
The station noted further:
Danielle Gatto barely remembers the nurse even mentioning test performed on her two daughters. "I don't think that any woman is in a state of mind to sit down and start studying up on the literature they send you home with," she said.
But later she was shocked to find, her daughters' leftover blood was not thrown away.
"Research""The state collects the cards and then uses them in a database," she told KPIX, noting that the information is buried way back on page 12 of brochures discussing the Newborn Screening Program that hospitals give parents before they leave with their newborn babies.
As it turns out, there is a rather nondescript office building in Richmond that contains the DNA of everyone born in the state since 1983. And, as you can imagine, the database is a treasure trove of information for every snooping government agency or corporation dealing in healthcare or with other self-serving interests. Everything from the color of a person's eyes to their predisposition to develop a chronic illness later in life is contained in the DNA database.
Why does the state collect the samples in the first place? Well, "research," of course, as KPIX reported. The state screens babies for 80 separate hereditary diseases.
But, the station reported, the California Department of Public Health is not alone in utilizing the DNA information; police agencies can also request to see them (of course). And private companies can also buy the data – again to conduct "research."
And all without Californians' consent.
"Everybody has a right to make an informed decision. That is not for the state to decide for them," said Gatto.
State health department officials did not grant KPIX an interview request, and would not explain why the agency does not seek permission to sell DNA samples. However, the agency said parents can have them destroyed, adding that the blood spots are then de-identified and cannot be traced back to the child (so they say).
As KPIX further reported:
But Yaniv Erlich with Columbia University and the New York Genome Center said there's no way to guarantee that. His research demonstrated how easy it is to take anonymized DNA, cross-reference it with online data and connect it to a name. "You need to have some training in genetics, but once you have that kind of training the attack is not very complicated to conduct," he said.
Bill to end non-consensual sample-taking was killed off by industry and the stateErlich, however, does not see the risk to privacy as a bad thing. In fact he just launched a website called DNA.land, a crowd-source-funded database where people can voluntarily donate their DNA data for the benefit of humanity.
"I want to stress that sharing genomic information is highly important, to advance biomedical research," said Erlich. "This is the only way that we can help families with kids that are affected by these devastating genetic disorders."
No matter. Others, like Gatto, still believe consent should be asked for – and granted – before the state is permitted to collect the ultimate in personal information.
"We are at the beginning of a frontier of so much genetic research, there is no knowing at this point in time what that info could be used for," said Gatto. 'The worst thing as a parent is to think that a decision that you are making today may negatively affect your children down the road."
She added that her husband – State Assemblyman Mike Gatto – introduced a bill this year that would have required a signed consent form upon newborn screening, but of course, opposition from the state and the industry made sure the legislation never made it very far.
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