The military is developing forensic databases for use in conflict areas. How might these data be shared and used in a civilian setting? What might be the impacts on civil liberties, and how can that conundrum be addressed?
A Google search of the term battlefield forensics results in the following explanation in a U.S. Department of Defense on-line document http://www.defensesolutions.gov/about_BF.html:
“The functional lines between traditional warﬁghting and activities such as law enforcement, physical security, and cyber crime have blurred.
DoD deﬁnes forensics simply: “The application of multi-disciplinary scientiﬁc processes to establish facts.” DoD is applying criminal forensic capabilities and technologies typically used in law enforcement to meet needs in national security and counter-terrorism.
Forensic science disciplines, research, techniques, and tools are extremely useful in identifying enemies, insurgents, and terrorists and scientiﬁcally linking them to other people, places, things, organizations, and events.
The U.S. military uses forensic sciences such as latent prints, DNA, ﬁrearms and toolmarks, forensic document examination, digital evidence discovery, and forensic pathology and odontology in pursuit of terrorists and their accomplices.
Forensic science traditionally applies scientiﬁc knowledge and methodology to legal problems and criminal investigations. Military operations in the Global War on Terrorism demand new capabilities from forensic science, ones that can be used on the battleﬁeld, in exigent circumstances, by non-professionals.”
As the military develops forensic databases for use in conflict areas, one question that naturally arises is how these data will be shared in a civilian setting. With porous borders, it is easy for hostile individuals to illegally enter other countries. If local police stop them and fingerprint checks are run — or perhaps DNA checks in more serious crimes — how might they be identified as persons of interest from hostile areas?
This is a problem which places civil liberties in conflict with homeland security concern. How might such a conundrum be addressed?