The University of Akron is backing away from a controversial new policy, which appears to be the first in the nation, saying that new hires can be DNA tested as part of a background check.
(AP / CBS)
William Rich, the vice chairman of the Ohio university's Faculty Senate, said late Thursday that the administration was now willing to remove references to DNA testing from its background check policy.
As CBSNews.com reported last week, the university's board of trustees adopted a rule saying a "DNA sample for purpose of a federal criminal background check" may be collected from any prospective faculty, staff, or contractor. That policy, which includes no explicit privacy guarantees, appears to violate a federal law that takes effect on November 21 called the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.
It's not unusual for employers to conduct criminal background checks during the hiring process. But the University of Akron has taken this to a surprising new level.
(AP / CBS)
The Ohio school now reserves the right to require any prospective faculty, staff, or contractor to submit a DNA sample, which genetic-testing experts say makes it the first employer in the nation to take such an extreme and potentially intrusive step.
The new policy, which says a "DNA sample for purpose of a federal criminal background check" may be collected, took the campus by surprise after it was announced last week. An adjunct faculty member has resigned in protest and is contemplating a lawsuit, and the local chapter of the American Association of University Professors says that genetic testing violates a collective bargaining agreement.
An Indiana appeals court has ruled that police do not need to obtain a search warrant before forcing someone to submit to a DNA test, a move that raises important privacy questions.
(AP / CBS)
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled on September 30 that no court order was necessary to force a suspect to allow the inside of his cheek to be scraped and a sample of cells to be collected and the DNA analyzed.
The case arose out charges filed against Arturo Garcia-Torres, who was convicted of rape and attempted rape in two cases involving female Valparaiso University students. A police detective collected a DNA sample from Garcia-Torres's cheek without obtaining a warrant, and the defense subsequently argued that a court order was required under the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits "unreasonable" searches and seizures.
The state of Virginia has backed away from its attempts to force Facebook to divulge the complete contents of a user's account to settle a dispute over workers' compensation, narrowly avoiding what promised to be a high-profile privacy battle in federal court.
On Monday, CBSNews.com has learned, the Virginia's Workers Compensation Commission said it was no longer going to levy a $200-a-day fine on the social networking site for refusing to comply with a subpoena from an airline that previously employed a flight attendant named Shana Hensley.
Facebook had objected to the June 4, 2009 subpoena from Colgan Air -- the Manassas, Va.-based company that operates under the names United Express, US Airways Express, and Continental Connection -- on privacy grounds. It said federal law prohibits divulging user data in response to a subpoena, and promised to "further litigate this issue by seeking, among other things, an injunction from the federal courts."
When the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced last summer that it could seize anyone's laptop, mobile phone, or camera at the border to analyze them for an indefinite period, the criticism was immediate. Sen. Russ Feingold, a Democrat, called the move "alarming," and the ACLU denounced it as "surrendering your Fourth Amendment rights at the border."
(AP / CBS)
It didn't help that the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals already had blessed the practice -- meaning that anyone, even U.S. citizens, can have their tangle of gadgetry seized at borders or at international arrivals even if there's zero evidence of illicit activities. (It won't happen to everyone in practice, of course, but DHS nevertheless reserved the right to do it.)
On Thursday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced new guidelines for searching and seizing electronic devices at the border. In a press release, DHS claimed that they would "enhance and clarify oversight for searches of computers and other electronic media at U.S. ports of entry."