Great Britain criminalized the acquisition of DNA without consent in 2006 at the urging of the Human Genetics Commission. Australia's legislature debated a two-year jail sentence for such theft in 2008.
In the United States, eight states currently have criminal or civil prohibitions on such nonconsensual appropriation of genetic materials. In Alaska, Florida, New Jersey, New York and Oregon, individuals caught swiping DNA face fines or short jail sentences. Lawsuits against "gene snatchers" are permitted in Minnesota, New Hampshire and New Mexico. In jurisdictions where such nonconsentual taking of DNA is illegal, exceptions are generally made for law enforcement.