Who Is Looking for Your "Abandoned" DNA?
Police are making more use of DNA, collecting and storing the information it contains. “Abandoned DNA” comes into play when the police don’t have a DNA sample, and can’t force a suspect to give one up. So they search through trash for coffee cups, cigarette butts, anything that might contain a suspects genetic material. What they find, could belong to the suspect ... or you.
Privacy experts and the courts disagree about the privacy rights we have over our DNA in the context of a police investigation. See the Boston Globe article.
Later this spring the Supreme Court will decide, in the case Maryland v. King, whether the police can force a suspect to give a DNA sample when he or she has merely been arrested—but not yet convicted—for a crime.