The Top of the Bad Idea Mountain

What would you say if you enrolled in a college and they asked for a DNA sample? If you would say “OK here’s the sample” then you get to go into the room for those who can’t think ahead. If you would say “Fuck off” congratulations you are a far more intelligent human being.

UC Berkley is asking all students to voluntarily submit DNA samples as part of enrollment:

The students will be asked to voluntarily submit a DNA sample. The cotton swabs will come with two bar code labels. One label will be put on the DNA sample and the other is kept for the students own records.

Now it’s no surprise to anybody that getting a DNA sample from somebody is fairly easy and if somebody wants it they can get it with a little work. But volunteering such information to any government entity (UC Berkley is a state college) is just stupid. The UK has established a DNA database which they claim is used for the following reasons:

* quickly identify offenders
* make earlier arrests
* secure more convictions
* provide critical investigative leads for police investigations

In other words they have it so they can fuck you over easier. Sure an innocent person will say they have nothing to fear from such a database but the second some legal becomes illegal you are in a position to face charges or at least public scrutiny. Of course at the time only people arrested are added to their database but alas some want everybody in it.

But the big question I really have is why the fuck is a college asking for DNA samples? Well:

The confidential process is being overseen by Jasper Rine, a campus professor of Genetics and Development Biology, who says the test results will help students make decisions about their diet and lifestyle.

Once the DNA sample is sent in and tested, it will show the student’s ability to tolerate alcohol, absorb folic acid and metabolize lactose.

Oh I see make it sound fun and exciting so students will be suckered into it. The best way to establish a database is to sucker people into volunteering their information for it. Also the easiest way to find out your alcohol tolerance is to drink alcohol until you can notice side effects. It’s cheap, easy, and fun. But here is the icing on the cake:

The results of the test will be put in a secure online database where students will be able to retrieve their results by using their bar code.

I just love the term “secure online database.” Without knowing how the security is implemented how can you know it’s actually secure? I bet money within the first year of this database being online (so a year from today) some bright student will find a way to break into it.

The bottom line is you should never volunteer any information you don’t have to, especially something that could be used to nail you for something ten years down the road. The main thing to remember is you never know when you could be caught up in something that is under investigation and if your DNA shows up you could face massive public scrutiny even if you didn’t actually do anything.