March 24, 2022 · less than 3 min read
The NYPD is facing potential legal action as the department is found to be in possession of thousands of genetic profiles.
Equal before the law
While the Police Department says the profiles are to help them accurately identify perpetrators, they also contain the imprints of thousands of innocent people, raising questions over the ethics of not only how the information is stored, but over how it’s acquired as well.
Critics say that the methods of acquiring the imprints are questionable. In principle, officers can offer someone a coffee while keeping the fingerprints – all without informing the person. A dubious practice, at best.
The most recent case related to Shakira Leslie and Shamill Burgos, who have both been taken in for questioning at different times. In both cases, no charges were ever levelled at the pair, but after smoking cigarettes and drinking from water bottles during the interviews, it’s alleged that the NYPD took their samples and, despite no charges, never deleted them.
While the NYPD’s insists that it operates completely within the law, doubts remain over whether the imprints of those like Leslie and Burgos should remain on the database, particularly as nothing was ever proven or levelled at the pair.
Concerns over data and data protection are rife, so the upcoming lawsuit is sure to play a pivotal role in how law enforcements agencies can approach the tricky topic of genetic profiling.
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