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On March 1, 1999, U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno asked the National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence to assess the legality of collecting DNA samples from everyone arrested by the police, and of banking the individually identifying genetic information they contain for future law enforcement use. This request came on the heels of the inauguration in October 1998 of the FBI’s national electronic database of “DNA fingerprints” taken from convicted criminals by forensic laboratories in all fifty states. That initiative, in turn, had been underway ever since the value of DNA profiles as uniquely identifying personal traits was first demonstrated in 1985. In the interim, the collection of DNA for personal identification purposes has already become mandatory within the military, and has become a mainstay of civilian efforts to clarify the identities of children, kidnap victims, family lineages and even religious relics. On the horizon lies the question that civil libertarians anticipate with dread: why not store personally identifying genetic information on everyone as a matter of course, for the advances in public safety and personal security that can be gained thereby?