***Update 3/4/2011*** Even though we posted on this Saturday shortly after the rumors started to spread, many have still been incorrectly reporting that TSA was going to collect DNA samples from passengers this summer. Media Matters took this story on, and as of this morning, FOX news issued an on-air apology for misreporting the story. ***
TSA is not testing and has no plans to use any technology capable of testing DNA.
An article was posted to "The Daily" today with the misleading headline "Genetic Patdown." Even more misleading, the first sentence leads off with the mention of airport scanners. So obviously, even though the rest of the article says nothing about airports or TSA, some readers naturally assumed this was a new technology that would be heading to the airports and the tweets went wild. It didn't help that "tsa-scanner" was included in the URL.
The DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is doing preliminary testing with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) who already uses DNA testing in some cases to establish familial relationships in refugee processing.
DHS S&T expects to receive a prototype DNA analyzer device this summer to conduct a preliminary evaluation of whether this kind of technology could be considered for future use. At this time, there are no DHS customers, nor is there a timeline for deployment, for this kind of technology - this is a simply a preliminary test of how the technology performs.
Again, TSA is not testing and has no plans to use any technology capable of testing DNA.
TSA Blog Team
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