Kuwait Backtracks On Mandatory DNA Database Of All Citizens And Visitors

from the this-is-why-it's-always-worth-protesting dept

A few weeks ago, we reported on a move by some public-spirited lawyers in Kuwait to challenge an extraordinary new law that would require everyone in the country — citizens and visitors like — to provide their DNA for a huge new database. It seemed like a quixotic move, since the Kuwaiti authorities were unlikely to be intimidated by a bunch of lawyers. And yet Kuwait has indeed backed down, as reported by New Scientist:

Kuwait plans to scale down, and may ultimately revoke, a law forcing all its citizens and visitors to provide samples of their DNA.

As well as the legal moves, a request from the country’s ruler, the Emir of Kuwait, that the law should be revised in a way that would “safeguard people’s privacy” seems to have led to a massive scaling-back of the plans:

The Kuwait parliament has now agreed to change the law so that only suspected criminals will need to give their DNA.

Although taking DNA from “suspected” — not convicted — criminals is still problematic, overall, this is welcome news, especially for visitors to the country, who presumably won’t now have their DNA sampled. It’s also a reminder that public outcry, especially on a global scale, can occasionally succeed in getting really bad laws revoked, which is why it is always worth trying.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and +glynmoody on Google+

Filed Under: , , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Kuwait Backtracks On Mandatory DNA Database Of All Citizens And Visitors”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
12 Comments
peter says:

Kuwait just playing catch up.

“taking DNA from “suspected” — not convicted — criminals is still problematic”

Well for may years that was exactly the situation in the UK. If you got arrested, for any reason, you got your DNA taken, and the police felt entitled to keep that DNA even if your were completely innocent. Because apparently ‘police policy’ over-rides freedom. It took a European court ruling to force change to the law to make the police delete innocent person’s DNA.

The Kuwait are doing no more than copying the freedom loving, democratic west’s example.

That One Guy (profile) says:

"... comes with a lifetime supply of cheddar for every crater purchased!"

Although taking DNA from "suspected" — not convicted — criminals is still problematic, overall, this is welcome news, especially for visitors to the country, who presumably won’t now have their DNA sampled.

And if you believe that it will stay that ‘limited’ once the program is in place, I’ve got some absolutely breath-taking lunar real-estate that I’m sure you’d love.

Funny thing about ‘data collections’/surveillance programs, they never shrink in scope, they always get bigger, more inclusive and more intrusive, never the other way around.

Sok Puppette (profile) says:

I guess I’m too cynical to believe the Emir of Kuwait is really concerned about the average citizen’s privacy.

Given that many members of the ruling class in most of the countries around that neck of the woods are relatively relaxed about raping whoever they want, beating servants, and generally indulging in criminal behavior that lends itself to DNA-based investigation and proof, I have a different hypothesis about why the Emir might not want everybody’s DNA profile in a database.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...