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Court Ruling On DNA Swabs Worries Local Privacy Advocates

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Marissa Bailey (CBS) Marissa Bailey
Marissa Bailey is the weekend anchor of the CBS 2 Chicago morning...
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CHICAGO (CBS) — A major decision handed down today by the Supreme Court puts the right to privacy up for debate.

The court ruled it is ok to take a DNA mouth swab from a person simply while under arrest to see if they could be connected to unsolved crimes.

CBS 2’s Marissa Bailey explains how this decision could put your DNA at risk.

Investigators use DNA to connect crimes to criminals but the Supreme Court ruled today that police officers can take DNA mouth swabs from anyone they arrest to see if it matches DNA from open unsolved cases.

Law professor and defense attorney Richard Kling calls it a “dangerous precedent” but admits a mouth swab is just like a fingerprint.

“With no probable cause and with no warrant and no consent, you can now be forced to give a DNA swab which can be used to investigate you for anything and everything — regardless of whether you’re under suspicion,” said Kling.

“It creates this massive database nationally of DNA,” said Ed Yohnka of the ACLU.

The ACLU fears that information could get into the wrong hands allowing private companies or even the government to connect family members based on DNA.

“It opens up all kinds of opportunities for discrimination, denials for other kinds of mistreatment that frankly we shouldn’t do because government shouldn’t have the information in the first place,” said Yohnka.

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy says he supports the court’s decision.

It was an interesting 5-4 split on the court with usually conservative Justice Scalia offering a more liberal stance and dissenting on this decision.

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