Pursuant to federal statutes and to laws in all fifty states, the United States government has assembled a database containing the DNA profiles of over eleven million citizens. Without judicial authorization, the government searches each of these profiles one-hundred thousand times every day, seeking to link database subjects to crimes they are not suspected of committing. Yet, courts and scholars that have addressed DNA databasing have focused their attention almost exclusively on the constitutionality of the government’s seizure of the biological samples from which the profiles are generated. This Note fills a gap in the scholarship by examining the Fourth Amendment problems that arise when the government searches its vast DNA database. This Note argues that each attempt to match two DNA profiles constitutes a Fourth Amendment search because each attempted match infringes upon database subjects’ expectations of privacy in their biological relationships and physical movements. The Note further argues that database searches are unreasonable as they are currently conducted, and it suggests an adaptation of computer-search procedures to remedy the constitutional deficiency.
Catherine W. Kimel, DNA Profiles, Computer Searches, and the Fourth Amendment, 62 Duke Law Journal 933-973 (2013).
Available at: http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/dlj/vol62/iss4/2