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Rapid DNA technology piloted by Edmonton Police Service

Categories Biometrics News  |  Law Enforcement


Rapid DNA biometric technology funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate and developed by Massachusetts- and Colorado-based ANDE Corporation is now used by Edmonton police for a 90-day pilot, the first police service in Canada to test the victim identification instrument, reports CBC.

“Policing as a whole is transforming, and a significant component to our strategy is leveraging technologies that can create immediate value and impact,” Edmonton Police Service (EPS) Chief Dale McFee said in a press release. “We are pleased to be piloting the use of Rapid DNA for a public safety mission here in Canada, and we are looking forward to the results of this trial.”

Unlike traditional DNA testing methods which can take months, Rapid DNA analyzes a sample in 90 minutes, without a technician’s help. The technology has been successfully used to identify victims in a boat fire and camp wildfire in California.

“Although the processing steps and data interpretation in the Rapid DNA system are essentially identical to those used in conventional labs, with Rapid DNA, the samples are processed and the resulting data interpreted automatically,” the company said in a statement.

“The DNA ID is based on the size of approximately 20 fragments of ‘junk DNA’ and does not reveal information about an individual’s appearance or medical or behavioral conditions. This level of privacy removes human bias, delivering objective information to inform investigations.”

Police units across the US are already using Rapid DNA in cold cases, rape cases, and disasters. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security wants to start using the technology for refugees and immigrants to establish kinship and identity.

Critics claim the technology could turn into a privacy threat once a large-scale database of DNA samples is created, while others feel it needs more testing.

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