Robot crime dog—he can smell everywhere you’ve been—forever!
Forget lasering your fingerprints or wearing a hairnet and gloves at the scene of your next crime. Very soon the government won’t need your DNA or prints—they’ll be able to follow the trail of bugs you leave everywhere. And the bad news is, this evidence can’t be erased or covered up—because it’s everywhere you’ve ever been.
What? That’s just nasty!
Your bugs (microbes or microorganisms) are unique to you, and they even leak through your clothes, and out of every orifice (yep, those too) of your body. Your skin, hair, breath, saliva, and even your gut contain colonies of these little critters, and it is this unique population (damn multi-culturalism) of all these different types of microbes that set you apart from the billions of other people on the planet. And no, you can’t wash them off.
While you were committing your last crime, did you brush up against something, sit down, or walk across the carpet? What about breathing—did you do that too? Book em Dano! Microbes are the new bread crumbs of CSI and you ain’t getting away with nothin. These communities of microorganisms are contained inside and on every plant, animal, rock, body of water or column of air, and each is different, just like you. As you walked across your yard they got on your shoes and then you left them all over the crime scene.
Let’s build a database
The study and cataloging of Microbiomes is the new frontier in forensic science. Beginning in 2011 a national database was established to record categories of microbiomes found just about everywhere. Contained in the big electronic filing cabinet, the unique biological fingerprints of tens of thousands of “volunteers” have been entered, the goal being getting this information from all 8 billion people on the planet.
The National Institute of Justice is working with over twenty other agencies to develop a strategic research plan necessary to turn this new science and all this data into a forensic reality. So far no one has been prosecuted using microbiome evidence, but it is just a matter of time.
Here is their list indicating where current research is heading:
- The necrobiome — the community of organisms found on or around decomposing remains — as an indicator of time-since-death in the investigation of human remains.
- The microbiome found in different soils as a means of linking a victim, suspect, or evidence to a particular outdoor environment.
- The trace human microbiome — microbes on our skin and the surfaces and objects we interact with — as a potential means to supplement the use of human DNA for associating people with evidence and environments.
Nothing to see here. Move along
It doesn’t take an above-average level of paranoia to see where this is all headed. The microbiome program is more about keeping tabs on individuals in society than fighting crime. Here is the real bucket list for Big Brother:
Forensic scientists envision robots sent into every crime scene to gather evidence from the air and every surface. If you were there, they will find your bugs, and no worries about crime scene contamination because the microbiomes of everyone else will be eliminated. (Even if they don’t have you in the system, your microbiomes can tell them a lot about you. Are you on medications, have a disease, male or female, age or race? The list is enormous. They will have everything but your photograph.)
Facial recognition move over
Leave your cap and sunglasses at home. In addition to facial recognition cameras, scientists hope to install sniffers in public places that will record biometric information on everyone who travels past.
What could possibly go wrong with this super-cool new technology?
David Brockett is a Vietnam veteran, USMC officer and pilot. As a civilian, he worked in healthcare as a counselor and hospital administrator. He also writes articles on politics and current events. He and his wife divide their time between their home state of Texas, and Idaho.