Wednesday, 3 November 2004

California voters, hoodwinked, expand DNA database

I generally respect reasonable disagreements on complex issues. Even when I think the majority gets it wrong, I rarely think voters were bamboozled. Unfortunately, that is what happened yesterday when California voters approved Proposition 69.

The proposition was popularly called a measure to expand the state's "Felon DNA Database" see, for example, the San Francisco Chronicle's return page for this proposition. I have never seen a ballot initiative so deceptively described. Every supporting editorial, radio spot, and flier touted how it would help "catch criminals" which it just might do. Unfortunately, they ignored its devestating effect on everyone else's privacy. Privacy was rarely, if ever, mentioned in the supporting arguments not even to refute the compelling arguments against the measure.

Privacy was not even a blip on the radar screen: it was a speck of dust flicked off the screen by a bored radar operator. I cannot recall the last time my level of frustration with a public debate was this high.

Posted at 9:39:49 PM | Permalink
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Topics: Civil Liberties
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