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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.