Posts Tagged ‘Civil Rights and Privacy’

In one episode of the old conspiracy series The X-Files, Mulder and Scully stumble across a vast collection of DNA samples in an old mining building. Mulder surmises that the government has collected a sample from every single American citizen born since the 1940s, using the smallpox vaccinations as cover. It’s fine conspiracy fare but something too massive to ever happen in real life. Unless, of course, you happen to have been born in British Columbia, Canada, in the past 20 years.

It emerged in 2010, as part of a new class action lawsuit, that the government of British Columbia takes samples from every newborn in the province (800,000 and counting, so far), without the parents’ consent, telling them as cover that the blood is being routinely tested for evidence of hereditary disorders. That’s what’s behind the innocuous name of the so-called “Newborn Screening Program.”